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Help me understand the UCCJEA so I can determine where to file

Lithonia, GA |

If I'm not mistaken, under this act, doesn't it mean that if a child custody order is entered in one state, even if the custodial parent leaves that state with the child, the home state maintains jurisdiction if the non custodial parent does not leave the state and the child maintains significant ties through extended visits(i.e. summer vacation, holidays, etc). I'm asking because I have a GA custody order. I still live in GA, my son still visits me. But his dad, who is the custodial parent, moved to AZ two years ago but has not ported the order to AZ. So doesn't GA maintain jurisdicition, which, in turn means any modifications for custody come through GA?

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Best Answer

Unless the Georgia court has made the discretionary determined that Georgia is an inconvenient forum and that Arizona is a more appropriate forum, you are correct that once an initial custody determination has been properly made by a court in Georgia, that the Georgia court retains exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under the UCCJEA to hear and decide all requests to modify that order so long as the child or at least one of the parents still presently resides in Georgia. Thus, the fact that Georgia is no longer the child's home state will not ordinarily deprive the Georgia court of its exclusive, continuing jurisdiction to modify the order. That is a general rule. There may be some specific facts in your case that would require a different result, but you have not included enough information in your question to determine with certainty whether that general rule controls in your situation. Because these jurisdictional questions are quite complex, you would be well advised to consult with a qualified Georgia family law attorney who is familiar with how the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the UCCJEA) works in modification cases.


You've asked this question elsewheer on AVVO with more information (that the child has been in Arizona for a couple years and that you also are involved in a Georgia contempt case.

The answer hasn't changed. Under the more detailed facts you gave, the answer is no.

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


You need to review your prior court order and your current situation with an experienced custody attorney. The UCCJEA does provide for continuing exclusive jurisdiction in your situation.

I am exclusively a family law attorney, practicing primarily in the metro Atlanta, Georgia trial courts. However, I handle appeals from anywhere in Georgia.

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