Enforcing child custody orders from another state in Missouri

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Thursday, February 5, 2015.

After a Missouri court grants legal custody to a parent or joint custody to both parents in a divorce, separation, or child custody proceeding, disputes might later arise between the parents. When this happens, the court that granted the original order is usually the one that retains jurisdiction over the matter.

There can be problems when a dispute over child custody involves parents residing in different states. Suppose, for example, a parent having shared joint custody under a Missouri court order takes the child to another state to live. Which state has jurisdiction to enforce or modify the Missouri custody order, and what happens if both states elect to assert jurisdiction over the case?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act was proposed as a means of dealing with child custody disputes and the enforcement of child custody orders under circumstances in which more than one state might have jurisdiction.

Adopted by all 50 states, the UCCJEA creates a set of rules by which adopting states agree to be guided. Paramount among them is the principle that the original home state of the child will retain jurisdiction in any child custody dispute provided at least one of the parents continues to reside there, and other states agree to defer to the home state’s jurisdiction.

A parent who believes another parent has violated the custody or visitation order of a Missouri court may use the UCCJEA to enforce that order in another state.

For instance, a parent who travels to another state to visit with a child under a visitation order granted in Missouri may seek enforcement assistance through the courts of the state in which the child is living. The UCCJEA also empowers prosecutors and police to enforce custody and visitation orders that are granted by a state having jurisdiction.

The UCCJEA is a powerful tool for parents to use to enforce custody and visitation orders regardless of the state in which their children reside at the time.

Parents living in Missouri who have a custody or visitation order from another state may enforce it without having to travel to the other state to protect the rights of themselves and their child.

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