Interstate Child Custody
Divorce Attorneys Assisting Residents of Denver and Surrounding Areas
When parents and children live in different states, there may be numerous legal issues raised. What will the visitation schedule be? With whom will the child live most of the time? How much support should a noncustodial parent pay, and who will pay for the child to visit the noncustodial parent? Interstate child custody disputes are governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. At Plog & Stein, our Denver interstate child custody lawyers have experience handling cases involving these types of disputes and can provide knowledgeable advice and representation.
Interstate Child Custody
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is codified at C.R.S. 14-13-101, which provides numerous rules and guidelines for courts to follow when faced with interstate custody disputes. Among other things, it covers issues related to a court’s authority, also known as jurisdiction, to hear a custody dispute or conduct a custody proceeding. These are proceedings related to both parenting time and decision making.
Under the UCCJEA, jurisdiction is established by proving that Colorado is a child’s home state, which means the child lived in Colorado for at least 6 months prior to the filing of a case. The UCCJEA applies to any case in which custody is an issue, including divorce, custody, and paternity cases. If Colorado is not a child’s home state at the time a case is commenced, the court will not have jurisdiction to hear any custody related issues. At times, the interstate child custody attorneys at our Denver firm see divorce cases in which the parties have been here long enough for the court to deal with the financial aspects of the divorce, but not the child issues.
The primary purpose of the UCCJEA is to help states easily determine which state is the proper jurisdiction for handling custody matters. It also can prevent forum shopping. Under the UCCJEA, jurisdiction attached to the child, not the parties.
Aside from determining the home state for purposes of making original custody determinations, the UCCJEA sets for various rules for dealing with custody issues arising afterward, including as relates to accepting cases from other states for both enforcement and modification purposes. For example, Colorado can accept a case from another state only if that state has relinquished its jurisdiction or if the child and no parent continue to reside in the original state.
Once jurisdiction over a child is established in Colorado, the general “best interest” standards and other statutory provisions apply. Interstate custody issues can be quite complex and having an attorney well versed in the tenets of the UCCJEA matters. In addition to the UCCJEA, interstate custody issues can also arise which are tied into parental abduction, which is governed by a separate Act.
Beyond jurisdictional concerns, there are cases in which one party seeks to move with the children as part of the final orders in a divorce or custody case. Likewise, circumstances may change after final orders are entered and one party may seek to relocate with a child from Colorado to another state. The standards for moving a child from Colorado differ between the two scenarios. When relocating after the divorce, the court will look at the usual custody factors, as well as the reasons for relocation, any reasons why the other parent objects, educational opportunities in both proposed communities, the presence of extended family in either location, and the anticipated impact of the move on the child, as well as other factors.
The laws regarding interstate custody differ from those dealing with child support and it is not uncommon to have custody orders in one state and child support orders from another.
Retain an Interstate Child Custody Lawyer in Denver
Today, people are increasingly mobile, and this may make it difficult to appropriately address a child’s needs in the case of their parents’ divorce. Interstate child custody issues require experienced and knowledgeable legal representation. At Plog & Stein, our Denver interstate child custody attorneys understand the legal issues associated with these matters, and our retainer rates are competitive. Contact Plog & Stein at (303) 781-0322 or via our online form for an appointment. We also represent people who need a divorce lawyer in Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, and Castle Rock, as well as other areas of Denver, Douglas, and Arapahoe Counties.