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Colorado Child Custody and Support - Jurisdiction in Child Custody/Support Matters

Child custody cases involving parents that live in two different states can present additional complications to the already difficult process of a child custody proceeding. The Court must determine if there is a “Home State,” and if so, which state should be deemed the “Home State.”

How the "Home State" is Decided

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA) dictates how courts handle custody decisions when the parents live in two different states. The Act gives courts the authority to determine which state is considered the child's home state. The decision is based on several factors, in order of priority:
  • The child must have lived with the parent in that state for at least six months.
  • The significant connections your child has with other people in the state will also determine if it is his or her home.
  • If the child lives in a certain state due to safety reasons, it can be considered his or her home state.
Once the “Home State” is determined, your custody hearings will take place in that state.
Child Support Jurisdiction

Typically the Court that determines child custody will handle child support in conjunction with the child custody case. However, in some circumstances where enforcement is an issue, the Court in the state in which the payor resides is the best option because they have a greater ability to enforce the Order - specifically, that Court can suspend the driver’s license, garnish paychecks or bank accounts, and force the sale of real or personal property.

Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), you have the right to obtain child support from your ex, no matter where he or she lives. The court will declare jurisdiction over a non-custodial parent, even if he or she lives in another state if:
  • The parent lived in that state when the parents applied for the custody order.
  • The whole family lived together in the state where the custodial parent now lives.
  • If the court doesn't have jurisdiction over the parent, but he or she voluntarily agrees to a switch, the court will claim jurisdiction.
Determining the state that will hear the child support case is important because child support amounts vary state-by-state.

Please contact the Colorado family law attorneys on the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel, LLC for all of your family law needs.
Categories: Child Custody, Family Law