Society today looks a lot different than it once did. Many of us have started to make bigger, more frequent moves than people have in the past decades. These moves happen for a plethora of reasons– jobs, education, more personal choices– but one thing remains a nagging constant through most of them.
The logistics of a move are tough. When you add in family law matters like divorces and child custody, the equation of moving when you’ve got a family becomes even more confusing.
If you haven’t already moved across state lines, you should take the time to learn about the laws and procedures that might impact your custody arrangement. If you’ve already moved and you’re looking for help, you should contact a reputable attorney for assistance.
The good news is that there’s plenty of easy-to-understand information concerning interstate child custody disputes in Minnesota. Below, we’ve covered a handful of the most basic (and important) components that make up the scenario.
A Brief Overview of Minnesota Child Custody Laws
In Minnesota, the law recognizes two primary varieties of child custody: legal and physical custody. One or both parents may hold legal and/or physical custody (joint custody).
- Legal custody means that a parent has the legal authority to make long-term decisions about the child’s wellbeing and upbringing
- Physical custody means that a child lives with the parent and the parent provides food, shelter, and other necessities
Most custody actions in Minnesota require that a child has lived with their custodial parent or guardian for a minimum of six months. Our courts do take emergency circumstances into consideration.
If you believe that you may be experiencing an emergency situation, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you navigate the particulars of an “ex parte” (or emergency) scenario.
Determining a Child’s Home State Using The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (or UCCJEA) was drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1997. It has been adopted by 49 U.S. states (Vermont is the only exception). Under the UCCJEA,
- “Exclusive [and] continuing jurisdiction” for child custody litigation is vested in the courts of the child’s home state
- “Home state” is defined as the state where the child has lived with a parent for six or more consecutive month prior to proceedings’ commencement
- If a child is younger than six months: His or her home state is defined as the place that they have lived with a parent since birth
- If the child has not lived in any state for six months: A court in a state with (1) significant connection with the child and at least one parent AND (2) substantial evidence concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships may assume child-custody jurisdiction
- If more than one state has significant connections AND substantial evidence: The states must communicate and determine which one has the most significant connections to the child
Each state has its own version of the UCCJEA to help provide consistency in courts in different jurisdictions. The good news for parents is at this uniform law makes it much easier to determine where custody cases should be heard.
In Need of Assistance With an Interstate Custody Dispute in Minnesota? Beckman Steen & Lungstrom May Be Able to Help
If you or somebody you love has questions about interstate custody disputes or dispute resolution in Minnesota, contact us today to speak to a legal representative. Our team is well-prepared to assess your circumstances and determine a potential path towards stability and safety. We serve residents throughout the Minnetonka, Minnesota area and assist with:
- Child custody and parenting time (including interstate child custody disputes)
- Grandparents’ and third-party child custody rights
- Child support
- Collaborative practice