Visitation and custody for couples in different states

Child custody and visitation issues are complicated in nearly every divorce case, but they are even more complex if a couple separate to a great degree physically. For some couples, they divorce, but their lives remain in the same location: perhaps they work at a particular job in the nearby city or they wish to remain near friends or family. For other couples, one party or another wishes to add as much distance between their life and the divorce as possible.

Depending on the custody arrangement, this can sometimes mean that one individual lives in a completely different state than his or her child, which would make weekend visitation significantly more difficult. In order to facilitate these circumstances, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act was created. Nearly every state in the country, including Florida, has adopted this statute. The purpose of the Act is to set a standard for courts handling issues across state lines, specifically determining when a court must defer to a judgment in a different state.

There is a very clear hierarchy when it comes to interstate courts and child custody, and at the top of that hierarchy is the child's home state, which for legal purposes is the state in which a child has lived with a parent for at least six months. Next on the list is a state in which the child has significant connections, such as a doctor, teachers or even grandparents to whom the child is particularly attached. Finally, there are states to which the child has been moved for safety reasons.

If no state meets any of the above criteria, or if a state chooses not to exert jurisdiction over a custody matter, then things can become a bit more complex. If you have been living with your child in the same state for at least six months, you likely do not have much to worry about regarding interstate custody. However, if any form of interstate custody becomes an issue for you or your family, consider meeting with an attorney immediately.

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