November 5, 2012 By Paul Wallin

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) determines the proper jurisdictional location where a child custody action is to take place between competing states.  There are several tests to be considered before a court can determine which state has proper initial jurisdiction. In California, the application of the UCCJEA is codified in the Family Code.  Clearly it would be most convenient for you to file for custody orders in California and in order to do so you have the burden of proving California is the proper jurisdiction.
The main test is to determine if California is the child’s home state or was the child’s home state in the proceeding six months prior to the filing of the action and the child is living with a parent or a person properly acting as a parent. [Fam. C. § 3402(e), 3421(a)(1)]  If the child is less than six months old, it is the state where he or she lived from birth.  If you can prove home state, the UCCJEA gives absolute priority jurisdiction to the child’s home state in all initial custody actions.
The alternate and more narrowly construed test to determine which state has jurisdiction is the test of  “significant connection” and “substantial evidence.”   This test only comes into play if 1) no other state has “home state” jurisdiction or a court has home state jurisdiction but chooses not to exercise (this usually happens if the second state determines that California is the more convenient forum or one parent has acted without justification). [Fam. C. § § 3427, 3428]; 2)  the child and at least one parent of the child has a significant connection with California; and, 3) there is substantial evidence available in California concerning the child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships. [Fam. C. 3421 (a)(2)(A)]
Determining which state has jurisdiction can be very complicated area of law. We hope this gives you a basic understanding of how the UCCJEA applies to child custody jurisdiction. If you or a loved one needs help with any aspect of establishing jurisdiction for a child custody action or any type of family law matter, call Wallin & Klarich today.  Wallin & Klarich has a team of highly skilled, aggressive Orange County family law attorneys ready to take your call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!  Wallin & Klarich has been in the business of helping people for over thirty years and we would like to help you.

Leave a comment

Practice area

  • Contact Us Now

    If you want a caring and aggressive family law firm fighting for your legal rights, now is the time to contact us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Latest Posts

SCHEDULE YOUR free consultation
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.