UCCJEA and UIFSA
The UCCJEA and UIFSA were the subjects of Richardson v. Richardson.
The father in Richardson filed a petition for divorce. At the time of the judgment his minor daughter lived in Japan with her mother. The trial court ordered that the court lacked jurisdiction to award child support because the minor child’s home state is not California but rather Japan. The father appealed the court order’s finding that it lacked jurisdiction to order child support.
The Court of Appeal affirmed that courts have exclusive jurisdiction over child support matters. However, when California is not a child’s home state, the UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act) and the UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act) prohibit jurisdiction
The UCCJEA gives California jurisdiction over child custody in three circumstances:
California is the minor child’s home state,
the child’s home state does not have jurisdiction, or
the home state declined jurisdiction in favor of California.
Family Code Section 3402 a child must live in the home state for “six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding.”
“UIFSA restricts California courts’ jurisdiction to order support if a comparable support petition or pleading is initiated in the child’s home state.” Since no child support order was made in Japan, UIFSA does not limit the trial court’s jurisdiction to order support.
Family Code Section 3402(g)
“Home state” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.
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