Trevino Law, Inc.

For a family law lawyer call:  949.716.2102

A Family Law Firm Located in South Orange County

Contact a Family Law Lawyer
If you have a crises in your life, chances are, you need a divorce attorney . Whether it is child support , child custody , property division , or spousal support , Trevino Law can help you through. Trevino Law is dedicated to helping individuals through the legal process. If you are facing a family law issue, it is important to contact an attorney even before the petition is filed. 
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Custody and UCCJEA
(also known as the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Act)

California Family Code section 3400 et. seq . governs jurisdiction over child custody when the parents live in different states.  Even if one of the parents of a minor child lives in California, California will not automatically have the ability, or jurisdiction, to make custody orders.

This section of the family code is often referred to as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act or the UCCJEA.  One of the goals of the UCCJEA is to prevent parents from moving to a different state with minor children in order to get a more favorable custody order. This is referred to as forum shopping. The UCCJEA curtails forum shopping by limiting the ability of a court in a new state from having the authority to make custody orders. In effect, it divests the court in the new state from making enforceable custody orders. 

Another purpose of the UCCJEA is to avoid re-litigation of the same issues in different states. Without the UCCJEA, one parent could obtain a custody order from California and the other parent could move to Utah which could result in a different custody order. By giving only one state the ability to hear a custody case, results in a final determination of custody. 
There are some proceedings in which the UCCJEA does not apply: 

  1. Adoption;
  2. Authorization to determine emergency medical care for the child;
  3. Children who are descendants of American Native Indians whose custody proceedings are governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act. 
The UCCJEA gives the child's home state the authority to make initial custody orders.

The child's home state is defined as the state in which the minor child was living on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencment of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state.  California Family Code section 3421(a)(1) .

The court must also ask if the court if another state has jurisdiction as a home state or whether a court with jursidiction as the home state has declined to exercise jurisidiction on the grounds that California is the more appropriate jurisdicton. 
If there is no home state or a court that is the home state as declined to exercise jurisdiction, California will have jurisdiction as long as the child and at least one parent have significant ties with California and that there is substantial evidence in this state concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships.

California may also may make initial custody orders if all other courts have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that Caifornia is the more appropriate forum to determine custody. 

Finally California can make an initial custody order if no other state would have jurisdiction. 
If a foreign country is involved, California courts shall treat that country as if it were a state of the United States for the purposes of custody if the custody determination made in a foreign country is in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this statute unless the child custody law of the foreign country violates fundamental prniciples of human rights.  Family Code section 3405
Once California has determined that it has jurisdiction to make an order, that order is binding on all persons who have been properly served, properly notified, or have submitted to the court's jurisdiction. Service is proper if the service complies with California law. Notice is proper for a person outside of California if service complies with that states' laws. Notice may be provided by publication, but notice must be in a manner that reasonably gives actual notice to interested parties. 

If one party raises the question at a hearing as to whether or not California has jurisdiction to determine custody, that question shall be given priority in the calendar. 

If a person who does not live in the State of California participates in a proceeding under the UCCJEA he or she is not subject to the jurisdiction of the state for other matters, unless that person is subject to the laws of California for other reasons.  If a person is not immune from service of process in this state, he or she can be subject to jurisdiction for other matters. This immunity does not extend to civil ligtation based upon acts committed while an individual is found in this state. 
A court of this state may communicate with a court in another state concerning a proceeding arising under this part.

The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the parties are not able to participate in the communication, they must be given the opportunity to present facts and legal arguments before a decision on jurisdiction is made.

Communication between courts on schedules, calendars, court records, and similar matters may occur without informing the parties. A record need not be made of the communication.

Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c), a record must be made of a communication under this section. The parties must be informed promptly of the communication and granted access to the record.

For the purposes of this section, “record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.