UCCJEA

UCCJEA Attorneys Located in Canton, Michigan

I.   PREFATORY NOTE

This Act, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), revisits the problem of the interstate child almost thirty years after the Conference promulgated the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA).  The UCCJEA accomplishes two major purposes.

First, it revises the law on child custody jurisdiction in light of federal enactments and almost thirty years of inconsistent case law.  Article 2 of this Act provides clearer standards for which States can exercise original jurisdiction over a child custody determination.  It also, for the first time, enunciates a standard of continuing jurisdiction and clarifies modification jurisdiction.  Other aspects of the article harmonize the law on simultaneous proceedings, clean hands, and forum non conveniens.

Second, this Act provides in Article 3 for a remedial process to enforce interstate child custody and visitation determinations.  In doing so, it brings a uniform procedure to the law of interstate enforcement that is currently producing inconsistent results.  In many respects, this Act accomplishes for custody and visitation determinations the same uniformity that has occurred in interstate child support with the promulgation of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).

II.    Jurisdiction

a.    Home State

This Act defines the term “the child’s ‘Home State’ ” and controls the issue of which state, of two competing states, has the authority to make “an initial custody determination” with regard to any child involved in a proceeding — whether it’s a divorce action, a paternity action, a child custody action. During the course of post-judgment proceedings, once again, the issue of which state is the child’s “Home State” again controls where the contested issues will be heard and decided and court orders will be enforced or modified.

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) a Michigan Court has jurisdiction when:

1.    Michigan is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceedings or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceedings;

2.    a court of another state does not have jurisdiction or has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that Michigan is the more appropriate forum; all courts having jurisdiction have declined to exercise  jurisdiction on the ground that Michigan is the more appropriate forum; and

3.    no court of another state would have jurisdiction.  MCL 722.1201(1)(a)-(c).

b.    Child Custody Proceeding in other States

Under the UCCJEA, in a proceeding to modify a child custody determination, a Michigan court must determine whether a proceeding to enforce the child custody determination has been commenced in another state. If a proceeding to enforce a child custody determination has been commenced in another state, the court may stay the proceeding for modification pending the entry of an order of a court of the other state enforcing, staying, denying, or dismissing the proceeding for enforcement, enjoin the parties from continuing with the proceeding for enforcement, or proceed with the modification under conditions it considers appropriate.

c.    Modification of Custody Order from another State

Under the UCCJEA, a Michigan court may not modify a child custody determination made by a court of another state unless the Michigan court has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination under the UCCJEA and the court of the other state determines it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction or that Michigan would be a more convenient forum, or a court determines that neither the child, nor a parent of the child, nor a person acting as a parent presently resides in the other state.

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