UCCJEA and a Child’s Home State

In Colorado and most of the 50 states regarding the definition of a child’s home state is dictated by the Uniform Child Custody Judicial Enforcement Act. This act says that a child’s home state is where the child has lived for at least 182 days prior to any court action.

If a parent gets proper orders or permission from the other parent to leave Colorado with a child or children, the question becomes what happens next? A parent can register the case in the child’s new state. An example would be if the parents went through a divorce in Colorado and the father agreed that he would have parenting time, but the mother would be the primary parent and wishes to relocate to the state of Georgia to be closer to her family, and the father has consented to that, and the judge has issued an order approving that.

After six months passes from the time that the orders were entered in Colorado, the mother may be able to make application in the state of Georgia to transfer the case from Colorado to Georgia, arguing that it’s more convenient to have the Georgia court address post-decree disputes, custody disputes and visitation disputes in Georgia now that the children have been away.

By the same token, let’s assume that parents have no custody orders and they’ve just moved to Colorado. Before they can file any action in the state of Colorado, the children have to be here for 182 consecutive days before it is appropriate to file any action here.

There are some exceptions to that in cases where there are certain emergencies and that’s why it’s always good to consult with a lawyer regarding the filing of custody actions in Colorado when it’s questionable as to how long the children have been here and what proof you have that Colorado is the children’s home state.

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