We Protect The Interests Of Individuals And Families

Protecting Parent-Child Bonds Across State Lines

Child custody is typically the most emotional aspect of a divorce or separation between parents. Your child custody case may involve complexities if you and the other parent live or plan to live in different states. Is your child’s other parent about to move out of state? Do you wonder how you will protect your right to be part of your child’s life if the other parent has already left New York or intends to do so?

You likely need a lawyer’s advice and help to protect your parental rights as well as your child’s safety and best interests. Whatever your circumstances, you can rely on sound and timely legal counsel and representation when you turn to Mattingly Cavagnaro LLP in Buffalo. Attorneys Christopher S. Mattingly and Melissa A. Cavagnaro have more than 40 combined years of experience in family law practice in New York. They often help with difficult situations such as international divorce and interstate child custody.

About States And Child Custody Jurisdiction

Besides the logistical factor of distance, interstate child custody cases may be hard to resolve because of jurisdiction issues. The child custody laws of New York may not apply in Pennsylvania or Ohio, for example, and vice versa. However, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), a uniform state law, provides guidance and relief for families in these circumstances. The UCCJEA has been adopted in nearly all states and U.S. territories.

In a nutshell, the provisions of the UCCJEA include the following:

  • The child’s home state has jurisdiction for child custody litigation.
  • The definition of the child’s home state is one where they have lived with a parent for six consecutive months before the initiation of child custody litigation.
  • If there is no clear home state, then a state where the child has “significant connections” will have jurisdiction.
  • “Substantial evidence” of a child’s significant connections to a state may include a history of childcare and personal relationships established in that state.
  • A court may exercise temporary emergency jurisdiction when the child has been abandoned or needs protection from potential mistreatment or abuse (UCCJEA, §204).

With an attorney from Mattingly Cavagnaro LLP on your side, your parental rights and your child’s safety will be the guiding principles.

For Advice And Help

Act promptly when your parent-child relationship is at risk. Contact Mattingly Cavagnaro LLP by phone at 716-246-4275 or by email to request a consultation with an experienced attorney.