How do I Transfer my Custody Orders From Another State to Colorado?
The first step in determining the proper answer to this questions is to assess the purpose for transferring the case. Interstate child custody matters are generally governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Under Colorado Statute, the U.C.C.J.E.A. is set forth in Title 14, Article 13. Pursuant to the U.C.C.J.E.A. child custody orders from one state can be transferred to another state for two different purposes. The first purpose would relate to enforcement of the child custody orders, including as relates to visitation (parenting time) and parental responsibilities regarding the making of major decisions for a child. The second purpose from transferring a case relates to modification of the current custody orders.
In technical terms, the U.C.C.J.E.A. calls a custody order a “child custody determination.” Under the Act, initial child custody determinations are to be made in a child’s “home state,’ which is generally the state the child has resided in for the 6 months preceding the filing of the case. However, in today’s mobile society, people move and circumstances change. As such, though orders might be issued in one state, one or both parents, and the child may leave the originating state to move elsewhere. The Act has been adopted by all 50 states so as to provide uniformity in terms of how interstate custody cases are handled and uniformity in terms of determining which state has jurisdiction over a child custody matter.
When dealing with enforcement issues, once the final, original orders are entered, a case may be transferred to another state if the child no longer continues to reside in the issuing state. In these instances, the child custody orders could be registered in the child’s new state for purposes of enforcement. For example, if parents were divorced in Kansas and mother and child then moved to Colorado, father could register the Kansas orders in Colorado for purposes of enforcing them, as relates to visitation or otherwise, should the mother decide she’s not going to follow them.
When dealing with modification of custody orders from another state, the ability to transfer a case is a little different. Generally, to transfer custody orders to Colorado for modification purposes, C.R.S. 14-13-203 states that both parents and the child must no longer reside in the issuing state. Using the example set forth above, if after the Kansas divorce, mother and child move to Colorado and father moves to California, mother, after having the child in Colorado for 6 months or more, could transfer the Kansas orders to Colorado for modification purposes. The father could do so as well. Unless all parties and the child are gone from the issuing state, jurisdiction is Kansas’ to relinquish. If one parent remains, but the child has been gone for an extended period of time from Kansas, either parent could ask Kansas to give up its jurisdiction to Colorado and the, once done, could formally transfer the case here.
To transfer a child custody case to Colorado, under either scenario, and properly register it with the appropriate court, you will need to comply with the procedural and substantive provisions of C.R.S. 14-13-305. You will need to get a Certified Copy of the original order and any additional orders from the issuing state. They will then need to be submitted to the court in Colorado, along with a Petition to Register Foreign Child Custody Determination, a Summons, and a Notice of Registration. These documents would all need to be personally served upon the other side, who would have the ability to challenge the transfer. However, a challenge to transferring the case would likely fail if the person seeking to register the out-of-state custody orders has properly complied with the dictates of the U.C.C.J.E.A. and all procedural requirements of statute or the court. Interstate custody issues can be complex and it’s generally better to seek the assistance of a qualified Denver child custody attorney. Again, it should be notes that transferring a child custody determination to Colorado from another state can be done for different purposes and that there are specific, applicable section of the U.C.C.J.E.A. for each purpose.