What Florida Law Applies to Moving a Child Out of The State of Florida ?

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Florida Statute 61.502 explains the primary purpose of the UCCCJEA, which include: (1) avoiding jurisdiction competition and conflict with courts of other states in matters of child custody; (2) promoting cooperation with the courts of other states to the end that a custody decree is rendered in the state that can best decide the case in the interest of the child; (3) deterring abductions and (4) reducing the harmful effects of jurisdictional conflicts.

The UCCJEA is a really confusing statute that has a lot of different parts. Essentially the main idea is this: You can’t just kidnap your child and relocate to another state and think you will get away with it, and think that you can haul the other parent in a foreign forum to defend a child dispute. The child’s home state has primary jurisdiction over any custody dispute. A child’s home state is usually determined by the answer to the following question: Where has the child continuously resided for the last six months? So, if you did happen to move to a new state with your child and want to sue your former spouse for child custody in your new state, you would have to wait at least six months after moving to the other jurisdiction before you can do anything. Even then, the new state could chose to decline to exercise jurisdiction on different grounds. For example, either the new state or old state could be deemed an “inconvenient forum.” Or, the new state may be required to defer to the previous state because the child still has “significant contacts” to the old state. A significant contact to the old state may be where the other parent lives, or if there are records and documents pertaining to that child in the old state.

The key point to keep in mind is that you are not going to win custody simply because you moved to another state with your kids. There is a possibility that you will still be bound by the child’s original home state. That home state may have assumed “exclusive” jurisdiction over the child and absent some specific circumstances, the home state will retain jurisdiction for the time.