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UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT
WHAT IS THE UCCJEA?
Michigan has enacted the UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT (known as the "UCCJEA"). This law is called a "uniform" act, because most of the states in the United States also have enacted this act. (As of July 2011, the only state that has NOT enacted the UCCJEA is Massachusetts.)
The UCCJEA provides that the initial child custody determinations should be made by the child's "home state".
The UCCJEA also provides direction for when a new state can take over jurisdiction in an existing case with a minor child.
WHAT IS THE HOME STATE OF A CHILD?
The UCCJEA defines the "home state" of the minor child as:
"the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least 6 consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child-custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than 6 months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with a parent or person acting as a parent. A period of temporary absence of a parent or person acting as a parent is included as part of the period." MCL 722.1102(g).
IN MY NEW CASE, HOW DOES THE UCCJEA EFFECT ME?
Every divorce, custody and paternity complaint that is filed in Michigan as the first court action regarding a minor child, is required to provide information pursuant to the UCCJEA, called the UCCJEA Affidavit.
If you are filing your divorce, custody or paternity case in Michigan, and the minor child of the actino has resided in Michigan for the last 6 months, then the UCCJEA will not effect you, other than to confirm you are filing your case in the right place.
If you wish to file your divorce, custody or paternity case in Michigan and your minor child of the action has not resided in Michigan for the last 6 months, then you will need to look to the UCCJEA for direction as to whether or not you can file your matter regarding the minor child in Michigan.
IN MY OLD CASE, HOW DOES THE UCCJEA EFFECT ME?
If you have an old case from another state (or country) that includes custody and parenting time issues, and the minor child no longer lives in that state (or county), neither parent lives in that state (or country), and the minor child has lived in Michigan for more than 6 months, the UCCJEA may provide you with the ability to move the old case to Michigan.
There are other provisions in the UCCJEA that may provide you with the ability to change the Jurisdiction of your case to Michigan even if you have not been here with the minor child for at least 6 months.
LET US HELP YOU!
The above is not intended to be legal advice, and is only a brief overview of UCCJEA in Michigan.
If you have any questions regarding the UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION ENFORCEMENT ACT in Michigan, or if you believe you may be facing a UCCJEA issue in Michigan, contact us today.
There is no charge for your initial phone consultation.
ATTORNEY ELLEN PAYNTER
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