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Interstate Child Custody 

In conjunction with North Carolina law, there are federal laws that determine which state will hear a paternity case, child custody case and/or a child support case when the parents reside in different states. The legal standard usually revolves around the state where the child has lived over a period of time.  Only one state court will have the right to hear the case, which is “jurisdiction” in legal terms. Interstate cases are complex, especially when two cases are filed at the same time in different states or when a child has not resided in a certain state for the minimal time specified. Each state has a version of the federal law, known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Judges in the two states will frequently communicate with each other concerning various factors in the decision making process, such as the availability of key witnesses to travel. After the courts decide which state will hear the case, parties will often register the court order in another state.When one or both parties later relocate to another state, the court may once again decide where the case should be sent (or whether it will remain in the original state).  In interstate cases, the NC attorney may consult with an attorney in another state to accomplish the client’s goal of sending a NC case somewhere else, or the goal of sending it to NC. There are unique issues for service members who are parents.

 

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