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Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act - The Florida Experience (From Parental Kidnaping Prevention Act of 1979, S 105 - Addendum, P 246-256, 1980 - See NCJ-77751)

NCJ Number
M B Frumkes; M B Elser
Date Published
11 pages
This examination of Florida's experience with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) focuses on the act's provisions, jurisdictional issues, and due process considerations.
The UCCJA is a procedural scheme to determine whether a court may assume jurisdiction to issue a custody judgment or to modify a custody judgment of a foreign court. Under the act participating States must recognize and enforce the custody decrees of a foreign State if that State assumed jurisdiction under the act's statutory provisions and if due process requirements of notice and opportunity to be heard are met. Florida can assert jurisdiction in a custody proceeding if it is the 'home State' of the child at the time the proceedings begin, if the child and one of the parties have 'significant connections' with the State, and if the most substantial information pertinent to the child's custody is available. Perhaps the most overlooked portion of the act by Florida family law practitioners is its information requirement which mandates -- whenever there are minor children involved and whether or not a custody battle is involved -- that each party in an initial pleading specify under oath the child's various residences and whether there are any other proceedings pending or otherwise. Within the State, where no interjurisdictional questions are involved, the court that granted the initial custody judgment has the power to modify those provisions and retains that power. However, once the parent moves from the State, the UCCJA provisions are applied in Florida courts unevenly and are often interpreted to give Florida jurisdictions precedence over other States. Florida trial judges must work together to meet the provisions of the UCCJA, State statutes, and the proposed Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1979. A total of 116 footnotes are included.


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