Search Site
Menu
When the Other Parent Lives in a Different State

Child custody matters can be difficult to handle when the other parent lives near you. But if one of you lives in another state, you might have to resolve procedural and jurisdictional disputes before you even get to the point at issue.

In the past, parents often had to spend unnecessary time and money arguing over which court had jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination or a modification of an existing order. Commonly, rulings were contradictory and inconsistent.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was drafted in 1997 to guide state courts on these issues. The UCCJEA has been adopted by almost every state in the country, including Minnesota, and is contained in Chapter 518D of the Minnesota Statutes. The statute does not govern the actual child custody laws applied to a case but rather which state’s laws to apply based on which court has jurisdiction over the matter.

Key provisions of the UCCJEA include the following:

  • Jurisdiction to determine initial custody Initial jurisdiction is based on the child’s home state during the six months immediately prior to the custody proceedings. If this cannot be determined, then the state in which a parent has a significant connection has jurisdiction.
  • A court’s exclusive and continued jurisdiction The state where jurisdiction is initially established retains exclusive jurisdiction over legal issues pertaining to the child. However, the jurisdiction is severed if the child and both parents move out of the state or if the child or a parent no longer has a significant connection to the state.
  • Court’s authority to modify orders Only the court with jurisdiction can modify an existing child custody order. A parent seeking modification can request revised jurisdiction if the parents and child no longer meet the requisite residency or significant connection criteria in the state with current jurisdiction.
  • Emergency custody situations Regardless of whether the state has jurisdiction, a court has authority to make a temporary custody decision in an emergency situation when the child needs immediate protection from harm. However, the state with an existing order retains authority to make a permanent ruling.

When parents and children live in different states, child custody issues are complex. A Minnesota family lawyer can help you with multi-state custody determinations, modifications and enforcement.

Our Attorneys
Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION


superlawyers
Contact us

Quick Contact Form