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Which State Has Authority in Multi-State Child Custody Cases?

Which State Has Authority in Multi-State Child Custody Cases?

Legal issues surrounding child custody rights for separated and divorced parents in California can often be quite complex. But what about situations in which each parent lives in a different state? What are the rights of a parent living in California who shares custody of a child with a parent who lives in another state?

In these circumstances, the California courts recommend you seek the assistance of a lawyer who has experience with these types of family law cases. Torrence L. Howell is an Ontario, CA family law attorney who has helped many clients resolve the most challenging and difficult of child custody issues, including those that stretch across state and national lines. If your ex-spouse or partner lives in another state and you are experiencing child custody or visitation problems, contact the law office of Torrence L Howell to learn more about your parental rights in these situations and how to protect them.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a law that creates national standards pertaining to when a state court can make a custody decision and when a court must accept a decision from another state. It establishes the criteria that decide which state can make a decision in a multi-state custody case. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the UCCJEA.

Under the rules of the UCCJEA, a custody decision can only be made in one state. Once that state makes a custody decision, the other state can’t make another decision or modify its existing order.

The circumstances that determine which state court has authority under the UCCJEA include:

  • The state is the child’s “home” state. The state is the child’s home state if they’ve lived there for six months or more, or were living in the state but no longer do because a parent took the child and kept them out of state.
  • The child has personal relationships and significant connections with teachers, doctors, grandparents, and other people in the state.
  • The child is in the state because they were abandoned there.
  • The child is in serious danger of abuse or neglect if returned to the other state.
  • No other state meets the criteria listed above, or they meet the criteria but have declined to make a custody decision.

Speak to An Ontario CA Family Law Attorney About Your Child Custody Concerns

If you are experiencing child custody or spousal support issues with an ex-spouse or partner who’s living out of state or out of the country you need experienced legal help. Ontario, CA family law attorney Torrence L. Howell has been representing clients in Ontario CA, and surrounding communities for more than 20 years. He possesses the legal knowledge and skills to handle a wide range of family law matters, including cases that involve courts in different states or countries.

Contact the law office of Ontario, CA family law attorney Terrence L. Howell through our website or call us at (909) 920-0908 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.


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My ex-wife hired an attorney which prompted me to do so for our divorce. Torrence Howell was highly recommended from a friend of mine who used Torrence’s services for a divorce just like mine. The results came out much better than he ever thought it would. With all things being equal I felt Torrence would

-Anonymous May 23, 2018

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