Custody Disputes with Parents living in Different States

Custody Disputes with Parents living in Different States

By: Christopher Casserly, Esquire

Even in the most basic cases, child custody disputes are intricate and stressful for families going through divorce.  Each state has their own custody guidelines that they use to try and arrive at which custodial arrangement will best serve the children’s best interest.  But what about those custody disputes that deal with parents in different states?  Whose rules govern?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was drafted in 1997 in an effort to establish stability and uniformity in interstate custodial disputes.  Understanding how the UCCJEA is applied will help parties to a custody dispute inform themselves on which set of custody statutes will be applied in their case.

Under the UCCJEA, jurisdiction is based on the “home state” of the children.  The best way of identifying a child’s home state is to go by which state the child has lived in for the last six consecutive months.  Once a child has lived in a given state for six months, that state has may assert jurisdiction.  If another state has already made a ruling regarding the child’s custody, then the initial state will can relinquish their jurisdiction to the new state, who may then make determinations in custody going forward.

If you have recently relocated from one state to another, or are planning to do so, it’s important that you consult with an attorney about the custody implications that go along with relocation from state to state.


To Schedule an Appointment with one of our attorney’s or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877.

About the author

About Christopher Casserly

Chris joined the firm in 2013 after graduating from Villanova University School of Law. While at Villanova Chris focused on Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution. In addition, he participated in the Villanova Law Civil Justice Clinic where he advocated for indigent clients facing custody issues. Prior to attending law school, Chris received his B.A. from Providence College where he studied English and French. Chris is a Supervising Attorney and Team Leader at LaMonaca Law. Chris was named a “Top Lawyer” in Family Law by Main Line Today in 2015 and 2017, as well as a Best Lawyer in the area of Adoption in the Delaware County Daily Times. He is a member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Delaware County Bar Association, where he serves as chair of the Family Law Section’s Custody Committee. When he’s not advocating for his clients, Chris enjoys cooking, all things Seinfeld-related, and being at the shore with his family and their dog, Molly.