Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act: Guide for Court Personnel and Judges

July 18, 2018


UCCJEA GuideInterstate custody cases involving domestic violence arrive at the courthouse in a variety of ways:

  • A victim of domestic violence who has fled for safety from another state seeks an emergency custody order from your court.
  • A left-behind parent files for custody in your court, seeking the return of the children from another state.
  • A victim with a custody order from another state seeks enforcement of the order in your state because the other parent has refused to return the children.
  • A victim with a custody order from another state seeks a modification from your court because the other parent has been abusive during visitation with the children. 
  • A victim from another state seeks a protection order with a custody provision.
  • A protection order from one state and a custody order from another contain conflicting provisions regarding the children.

This guide, developed by the Legal Resource Center on Violence Against Women, the National Center on State Courts, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is intended to help you to determine whether your court has jurisdiction to enter or modify a child custody order in these and other interstate cases, as well as to understand your responsibilities to enforce orders from other jurisdictions. The guide includes four components: (1) an overview of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the UCCJEA), a uniform state law that governs decision-making about jurisdiction in interstate custody cases; (2) a practice guide for judicial officers that includes strategies for effective implementation of the UCCJEA in your court; (3) a similar practice guide for non-judicial court personnel; and (4) a copy of the UCCJEA and a chart with citations to state versions of the UCCJEA.

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