Parenting is considered an obligation on both parents for the purpose of protecting and advancing the wellbeing of their children. When children are involved, divorce decrees will usually include a parenting plan that details the conduct and responsibilities of parents. This includes details regarding custody and visitation. There is no guarantee that the parents will remain living in the same area while their children are growing up. If one parent moves out of state, an interstate custody plan must be negotiated. If parents cannot mutually agree to an interstate custody plan, the courts will step in to evaluate custody plans suggested by parents with the goal of accommodating the needs of the children first.
In the past, a parent moving after divorce caused a great deal of concern and conflict. The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires enforcement of valid judgments and decrees issued in one state to be enforceable in all states. Despite this, some courts disregarded prior child custody arrangements issued from courts in other states. This created a serious disconnect, resulting in confusion and hardship. The problems caused by creation of multiple and conflicting child custody awards resulted in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA). It was designed to resolve common conflicts that arise when a parent moves out of state and creates the need for an interstate custody plan.
Every state, including Maryland, has adopted a version of the UCCJA. It defines which state has jurisdiction to render child custody decisions. In order of preference, a state court is entitled to make a decision about a child custody plan if:
- It is the child’s home state. The child must have been residing there for at least six months or they were residing in that state but were removed from the state by the parent.
- The child has significant connections with people in the state. The connections can be with family, friends, teachers, and health care providers. This needs to be substantiated by evidence in the state regarding the child’s welfare, such as child care records and the like.
- The child is present for personal safety reasons. The child has been removed from the state to prevent abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
- There is no home state. Sometimes a state either fails to meet one of the above requirements or a state that can meet one of the requirements declines to assert jurisdiction.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Develop Interstate Custody Plans
It is in the best interests of children for their parents to mutually agree on an interstate custody plan. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If you have a child custody issue that needs to be resolved, the Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. For a free consultation today, call us at 443-589-0150 or submit an online form to get started. With convenient locations in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.