Moving a Child Custody Court Case in Florida to Georgia

By Michael Butler

Most states, including Florida and Georgia, have enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act as their state law. The UCCJEA sets the standard for what state has jurisdiction to make custody orders concerning a child and when jurisdiction can transfer to another state. If Florida has assumed jurisdiction over your child custody case, you must meet the standards in the UCCJEA to move the case to Georgia.

Initial and Continuing Jurisdiction

The UCCJEA has several provisions to determine which state has jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination. Normally, the state with jurisdiction is the child's home state, which is the state in which the child primarily resides. There are exceptions and provisions for cases in which a child does not have a home state. Once a state that has proper jurisdiction makes an initial child custody determination, the state retains exclusive and continuing jurisdiction and must release jurisdiction before another state can make a custody determination. A Florida court will only release jurisdiction to Georgia if Georgia currently meets the standard for having initial jurisdiction over the child.

Releasing Jurisdiction

For Florida to release jurisdiction to Georgia, a Florida court can use two different standards. The first is the significant connection test. If the Florida court determines that the child, parents and anyone acting as a parent do not have a significant connection with Florida and substantial evidence concerning the matter does not exist in Florida, the court can release jurisdiction. A Florida court can also release jurisdiction if neither the child, parents nor anyone acting as a parent currently lives in Florida. A Georgia court can assume jurisdiction if it makes a determination that none of the interested parties live in Florida. However, a Georgia court cannot rule on the significant connection test. Before assuming jurisdiction, the Georgia court will communicate with the Florida court and make sure Florida does not want to keep the case.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Inconvenient Forum

A Florida court can also release jurisdiction to Georgia if the court determines Florida is an inconvenient forum and Georgia is a more appropriate forum to hear the case. The UCCJEA provides eight factors the Florida court will consider in determining whether Florida is an inconvenient forum, including the location of evidence, where the child resides, parties' finances and domestic violence. If one parent lives in Florida, but the child spends almost all of her time in Georgia, a Florida court might rule that Georgia is a more appropriate forum. However, Florida will not automatically release jurisdiction. Instead, Florida will stay its own proceedings to allow the parties to file a case in Georgia. If the parties do not start a case in Georgia, Florida will proceed with its custody case.

Difficulty

The UCCJEA has a strong policy against moving jurisdiction to another state. This is to prevent parents from filing custody cases in a second state because they do not like the first state's orders. It also protects against one parent kidnapping a child, taking the child to another state and benefiting from his own misbehavior. It is not easy to get a state to release jurisdiction over a child. You have a right to represent yourself in court. However, if you want to move a custody case to Georgia from Florida, you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Divorce Options When Married in Florida & Living in Colorado

References

Related articles

Who Gets Custody in a Divorce in Florida?

When Florida couples divorce but disagree about custody, a Florida court determines how the spouses will share time with their children. In 2008, Florida redesigned its custody statutes to discourage the perception that one parent has custody while the other parent does not. Now, custody is called “time sharing” in Florida, and courts award time to each parent rather than saying one parent has custody.

Interstate Custody Laws

America is a mobile society and it’s not unusual for spouses to decide to literally move on after a divorce or even during a divorce – sometimes to another state. If they have children, however, this complicates the situation tremendously. It's enough of an issue that the federal government and individual states have passed legislation to deal with interstate custody matters, and it is important to understand the law if you share custody of your child or are in the midst of a custody dispute.

Can You Take Child Custody to Federal Court?

When parents divorce, typically, the court decides child custody and child support issues as part of the divorce decree. Custody issues are determined by state law in the state where the parents divorce, as long as the state has proper jurisdiction, or legal authority to hear the case, which is based on the child living in the state where the divorce takes place.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

With Temporary Custody of a Minor in Georgia Can I Leave the State and Still Have Custody?

If you have a temporary child custody order, the court may or may not permit you to leave the state of Georgia with ...

How to Move a Custody Hearing to Another State

While family law is normally defined by each state's law, the rules regarding child custody hearings are mostly uniform ...

Can One Parent Take a Child Out of State Prior to Divorce Filing?

When spouses can no longer live together and are divorcing, they often want to put some distance between themselves. In ...

How Does Child Custody in Louisiana Convert to Texas Laws?

When couples divorce in Louisiana, the Louisiana court issues an order that describes child custody terms, but those ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED