Navigating child custody matters can be complex, and when parents live in different states, the challenges can multiply. To address these issues, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) plays a crucial role in determining jurisdiction and facilitating the enforcement of custody across state lines. In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of the UCCJEA and how Family Lawyer Alexander & Associates can assist families in coordinating child custody matters across state boundaries.

Understanding the UCCJEA and Coordinating Custody Across State Lines

The UCCJEA is a uniform law adopted by every state except Massachusetts to provide a consistent framework for determining which state has jurisdiction over child custody matters. The primary goals of the UCCJEA are to avoid conflicting custody orders and to ensure that custody decisions are made in the best interests of the child.


Key Elements of the UCCJEA

  • Home State Jurisdiction:

    • The UCCJEA establishes the “home state” as the primary jurisdiction for child custody matters. The home state is where the child has lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for typically six consecutive months. If the child in question is an infant under the age of six months old, the home state is considered to the be state that the child has lived in during the duration of his/her life. If neither of these applies, then we look at the child’s connections to the states where the child lives – schools, medical treatment, and collaterals in the child’s life that can speak to the child’s needs.

  • Exclusive Continuing Jurisdiction:

    • Once a state has established jurisdiction, the UCCJEA grants that state exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over the custody case. This prevents multiple states from making conflicting custody orders.

    • Exceptions to this include: when there is no evidence that a state can determine custody AND there is no evidence that there is a meaningful connection to the state, or if both parents leave the state of Jurisdiction. For example, if a divorcing family resides in South Dakota and South Dakota has jurisdiction, but then the mother and child move to Nevada and the father moves to Colorado, South Dakota will no longer be the state that has jurisdiction.

  • Emergency Jurisdiction:

    • In cases of immediate danger to the child, a state can assert temporary emergency jurisdiction to protect the child until either a more appropriate jurisdiction is determined, or the case can be returned to the correct jurisdiction.

  • Modification Jurisdiction:

    • The UCCJEA outlines the circumstances under which a state can modify an existing custody order. Generally, modification jurisdiction is granted to the state where the child and one of the parents have a significant connection.

How Alexander & Associates Can Help

Family Lawyer Alexander & Associates is well-versed in the intricacies of the UCCJEA and can provide invaluable assistance to parents navigating child custody across multiple states, whether that is modification to existing plans, or assistance in a brand new custody case.

  • Legal Expertise:

    • Our team of experienced family lawyers understands the nuances of the UCCJEA and can guide you through the process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met.

  • Jurisdictional Analysis:

    • Determining the appropriate jurisdiction is critical in child custody cases. We conduct a thorough analysis of the circumstances to establish the home state and pursue legal actions accordingly.

  • Enforcement of Orders:

    • Should a custody order need enforcement in another state, Alexander & Associates is equipped to navigate the legal channels to ensure compliance.

  • Mediation and Negotiation:

    • We prioritize amicable solutions whenever possible, using mediation and negotiation to reach agreements that align with the best interests of the child.


Coordinating child custody across state lines requires a deep understanding of the UCCJEA and the legal complexities involved. Family Lawyer Alexander & Associates is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support, ensuring that families can navigate these challenges with confidence. If you find yourself facing child custody issues spanning different states, trust in our expertise to guide you through the intricacies of the UCCJEA and advocate for the best interests of your child.

Contact Alexander & Associates today!