After you and your spouse decided to divorce, they may have informed you that they plan on moving from Connecticut. If you two have children, their relocation will complicate custody matters. Even if they’re moving close by, you will likely worry about your agreement’s enforceability. No matter where they move, though, you will likely handle custody matters following the laws of your children’s home state.
Navigating state borders
If your divorce involves an interstate custody arrangement, you and your spouse must abide by the terms of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This act exists to reduce confusion about custody matters by deferring to the laws of your children’s home state. For Connecticut to qualify as your children’s home state, they must have lived there for at least six months. If they have not, the UCCJEA will enforce the guidelines of a state where they have significant connections – being where you or your spouse lives. Or, it will enforce the laws of the state where your children are living due to safety reasons.
While 49 out of 50 states have enforced the UCCJEA, Massachusetts has not. The state still recognizes the prior version of the law – the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act – which gives equal weight to the jurisdiction of your children’s home state and to those where they have significant connections.
Enforcing your agreement
Once your spouse moves to a different state, opportunities arise for custody issues. They may try to create a conflicting order in their new home state, even if your children live with you. Or, they may attempt to delay the enforcement of your custody agreement or disobey its terms. But the UCCJEA is a uniform code that applies in almost every state. And its widespread adoption effectively curbs these behaviors.