In an earlier post concerning child custody jurisdiction, we talked about
California’s adoption of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction
and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”), which provides for jurisdiction in
child custody proceedings. However, even though the family law court in California may
have jurisdiction to hear your child custody case, it’s also possible
for the court to decline jurisdiction to make a child custody determination
and decide another state is a more appropriate forum instead.
The issue of “inconvenient forum” is typically raised by one
of the party’s to a child custody proceeding with the filing of
a legal document, commonly referred to as a noticed motion, with the court.
The issue of inconvenient forum may also be raised by the family law court,
or upon another court’s request. Statutory reference on the issue
of inconvenient forum (also referred to as
“Forum Non Conveniens”) and a court’s ability to decline jurisdiction in certain child
custody proceedings is found in Family Code Section 3427, which provides
in pertinent part:
“(a) A court of this state that has jurisdiction under this part
to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction
at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the
circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate
(b) Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of
this state shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another
state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow
the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors,
(1) Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in
the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child.
(2) The length of time the child has resided outside this state.
(3) The distance between the court in this state and the court in the state
that would assume jurisdiction.
(4) The degree of financial hardship to the parties in litigating in one
forum over the other.
(5) Any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction.
(6) The nature and location of the evidence required to resolved the pending
litigation, including testimony of the child.
(7) The ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously
and the procedures necessary to present the evidence.
(8) The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues
in the pending litigation.”
UCCJEA jurisdiction and inconvenient forum issues in a child custody proceeding
are extremely difficult, hard-fought issues in a contested child custody
case. This is a specific area in child custody matters that should be
handled by a family law attorney. The family law court will consider the
factors enumerated in section 3427 of the Family Law code, along with
any evidence your family lawyer presents on your behalf.
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divorce, legal separation, spousal support/alimony, or paternity.
Contact Castellanos & Associates, APLC at (323) 655-2105. Our family law attorneys provide a FREE initial consultation. We also
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