McGuire Megna Attorneys, An Association of Professionals

Child Custody

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) expressly states that its general purposes are (1) to prevent jurisdictional competition and conflict among state courts regarding matters of child custody, because such competition and conflict have resulted in the shifting of children from state to state with harmful effects on their well-being; (2) to help assure that a custody decree is rendered in the state that can “best decide the case in the interest of the child;” (3) to discourage the use of courts in different states to perpetuate controversies regarding child custody; (4) to deter abductions; (5) to avoid relitigation of custody decisions of other states; (6) to facilitate the enforcement of custody decrees of other states; (7) to promote and expand the exchange of information and other forms of mutual assistance between courts of different states that are concerned with the same child; and (8) to make the law uniform with respect to child custody among the states that have enacted the UCCJEA.

The goal of creating uniform law to govern interstate child custody matters is emphasized in the UCCJEA. In addition to being listed among the express purposes of the Act, uniformity is mentioned in a UCCJEA provision that requires trial judges who are applying and construing the Act to consider the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to child custody, among states that enact the UCCJEA.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) took effect in Florida on October 1, 2002. 1 It applies to proceedings to determine, modify, or enforce child custody that were filed on or after October 1, 2002. In addition, the UCCJEA applies to any motion or request for relief filed after October 1, 2002. That is, it applies to motions or requests for relief that were made after the effective date of the Act, even if the proceedings in which the motions or requests were made were initiated before the Act’s effective date of October 1, 2002. If a pending motion or request for relief was made prior to October 1, 2002, it is not governed by the UCCJEA. Rather, it is governed by the now-repealed Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.

Pursuant to the UCCJEA, initial and modification proceedings, which are called “child custody proceedings” under the Act, include proceedings for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence in which the issue of child custody exists.

However, if a paternity action is filed in Florida by a nonresident-mother against a putative father who resides in the state, and if the putative father agrees that the mother should be awarded permanent primary residential custody of the child, custody is not an issue in the case. Therefore, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is inapplicable, and a Florida court may properly maintain subject matter jurisdiction over the action regardless of the UCCJEA’s requirements for jurisdiction.

The UCCJEA does not apply to proceedings pertaining to the authorization of emergency medical care for a child. Additionally, initial or modification proceedings that are governed by the Indian Welfare Act are not governed by the UCCJEA. However, in proceedings that involve Indian children and that are not governed by the Indian Welfare Act, trial courts should apply the initial and modification provisions of the UCCJEA to Indian tribes in the same manner as they would apply those provisions to states of the United States. Similarly, courts must apply the UCCJEA’s initial and modification provisions to foreign countries in the same manner as they would apply the provisions to states of the U.S. Further, child custody determinations made by foreign countries or Indian tribes in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of the UCCJEA must be recognized and enforced under the Act’s provisions regarding registration of child custody determinations and the enforcement of such determinations. However, a Florida court is not required to recognize a child custody determination made in a foreign country if the child custody law of that country violates fundamental principles of human rights.

An order for the return of a child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may be enforced by a Florida court under the UCCJEA the same as a child custody determination under the Act.



Personal Service, Prompt Attention, Experience and Expertise.

John McGuire’s commitment is to provide you with the prompt, personal attention you deserve at every stage of representation. We take the time to listen to your concerns and provide you with the advice you need to proceed in the right direction, and we keep you informed as your case develops.

Want to sound smart with your friends?

If we don’t win, you don’t pay a penny. When tragedy strikes, our Personal Injury Law Firm is here to help you. Get a risk-free consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

McGuire Law Offices is a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy law. The firm’s website features a comprehensive FAQ section that provides answers to common questions about the bankruptcy process. The FAQ section is organized by topic, making it easy for clients to find the information they need. The answers provided are detailed and informative, and are written in plain language that is easy for clients to understand. This section of the website is a valuable resource for clients who may be considering bankruptcy and want to learn more about the process.

What is the process for filing for

The process for filing for divorce involves filing a petition with the court, serving the petition on your spouse, and attending hearings to resolve any disputes over issues such as child custody, property division, and support.

Can I modify a child custody or support order?

Yes, child custody and support orders can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or relocation.

What factors are considered in determining child custody?

In determining child custody, the court will consider the best interests of the child, which may include factors such as the child’s age, health, and relationship with each parent.

What is child support and how is it calculated?

Child support is a court-ordered payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent to help cover the costs of raising a child. The amount of child support is typically calculated based on each parent’s income and the child’s needs.

Scroll to Top