Define: UCCJEA

Quick Summary of UCCJEA

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a law that assists in determining the state with the authority to make custody decisions for a child. It also aids in enforcing custody orders when they involve different states. Essentially, the UCCJEA ensures that custody decisions prioritize the child’s best interests and are upheld regardless of the child or parents’ residence.

Full Definition Of UCCJEA

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a law that assists in determining which state has authority over child custody cases when parents reside in different states. It also establishes a mechanism for enforcing custody orders across state borders. For instance, if a couple divorces in California and the mother relocates to New York with their child, the UCCJEA would aid in determining which state has jurisdiction over the custody case. Additionally, it would enable the father to enforce the custody order in New York if the mother violates it. The UCCJEA is significant as it prevents conflicting custody orders from various states and ensures that the child’s best interests are considered. In the given example, the UCCJEA would prevent the mother from seeking custody in New York if California already has jurisdiction. Furthermore, it would permit the father to enforce the custody order in New York, even though it was issued in California, if the mother violates it.


UCCJEA stands for the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

The purpose of UCCJEA is to establish jurisdictional rules for determining which state has the authority to make child custody determinations and to provide a framework for enforcing those determinations across state lines.

UCCJEA determines jurisdiction based on the child’s home state, which is typically the state where the child has lived for the past six months.

Yes, under UCCJEA, a court in one state can modify a child custody order issued by a court in another state if certain conditions are met, such as if the child or one of the parents has a significant connection with the new state and there is substantial evidence regarding the child’s best interests.

Under UCCJEA, a parent generally cannot move to another state with their child without the other parent’s consent or a court order allowing the relocation. The non-moving parent’s rights and the child’s best interests are considered in such cases.

If there is a dispute between two states regarding jurisdiction, UCCJEA provides a process for determining which state has the authority to make child custody determinations. The courts will consider factors such as the child’s connections to each state and the best interests of the child.

No, UCCJEA only applies to child custody matters within the United States. International child custody disputes are governed by different laws and treaties.

UCCJEA primarily focuses on determining custody between parents. However, in certain circumstances, grandparents or other third parties may be able to seek custody or visitation rights under state-specific laws.

No, UCCJEA specifically deals with child custody jurisdiction and enforcement. Child support orders are typically enforced through separate laws and procedures.

No, UCCJEA sets the legal framework for child custody determinations and enforcement. Private custody agreements between parents cannot override or modify the jurisdictional rules established by UCCJEA.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 17th April 2024.

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