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Child Abductions and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Journal-Western State University, San Diego Volume: 3 Issue: 2 Dated: (Spring 1980) Pages: 475-488
M R Belter
Date Published
14 pages
This note focuses on the practical effects and limitations of California's Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) as it pertains to child abductions and multiple jurisdiction litigation.
The UCCJA supersedes any contrary decisional and statutory laws and is considered the exclusive method of determining subject matter jurisdiction in custody matters. The UCCJA is intended to avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with the courts of other States and to see that a custody decree is rendered in the State which can best decide the case in the interest of the child. It is also intended to assure that custody litigation ordinarily takes place in the State having the closest connection with the child and the child's family and to deter abductions and other unilateral removals of children undertaken to obtain custody awards. The UCCJA is not a reciprocal law. It was designed to be enacted by each individual State regardless of whether it was enacted by other States. However, the benefits of this uniform legislation cannot be fully realized until a large number of States enact it. The grounds considered in determining whether a court has appropriate jurisidiction under the UCCJA are set forth in section 5152 of the California Civil Code. Legislation currently before the U.S. Senate would give full faith and credit to the custody decrees of other States and aims at reducing abductions and promoting the best interests of the child. A total of 66 footnotes are provided.