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The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

NCJ Number
Patricia M. Hoff
Date Published
December 2001
16 pages
This bulletin describes the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), the most recent in a series of laws designed to deter interstate parental kidnapping and promote uniform jurisdiction and enforcement provisions in interstate child-custody and visitation cases.
This bulletin is designed to provide current information about the UCCJEA to legislators in States that are considering its adoption and to parents and practitioners in States that have already adopted the law. The UCCJEA is a uniform State law that was approved in 1997 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State laws to replace its 1968 Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA). The law would become effective only upon adoption by State legislatures. As of July 2001, 26 jurisdictions adopted the UCCJEA, and it had been introduced in the legislatures of 10 others in 2000-01. The UCCJEA clarifies UCCJA provisions that have received conflicting interpretations in courts across the country, codifies practices that have effectively reduced interstate conflict, conforms jurisdictional standards to those of the Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act to ensure interstate enforceability of orders, and adds protections for victims of domestic violence who move out of State for safe haven. The UCCJEA, however, is not a substantive custody statute. It does not dictate standards for making or modifying child-custody and visitation decisions; instead, it determines which States' courts have and should exercise jurisdiction to do so. A 23-item annotated resource list, a 3-item bibliography, and 71 notes