What Michigan Parents Need to Know About Interstate Custody.

Interstate highway signs
If one of you is supposed to hit the highway after divorce, but interstate custody needs to be worked out, talk to us about your plans for the future.

Most Michigan parents who get divorced have to deal with the frustrations of custody agreements and parenting time orders at some point or another. But very few of them ever have to deal with the complexities of interstate custody – that is, figuring out a custody agreement that takes into account parents who live in different states.

Most interstate custody agreements are unique

Because interstate custody agreements are far more rare than the usual everyone-lives-in-the-same-state variety, each one deals with unique factors that only affect that specific situation. Like when mom is staying in Michigan, but dad is moving to Oregon for work. Or mom is moving back to California to help care for an ageing parent, but dad is staying in Michigan. Or the even less common version, where both parents are moving out of state, but not to the same states. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for interstate custody agreements.

So what rules govern interstate custody agreements?

Technically states are supposed to give “full faith and credit” to order of another state as long a their laws are not in direct conflict. So how does it work when it comes to interstate custody agreements? Is there a law that crosses state lines and regulate these particular court orders? Yes there is – it’s called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The UCCJEA is a set of uniform laws states have enacted that outline the  how courts in different states can avoid jurisdictional competition when it comes to child custody, promote cooperation between all the states, and help enforce the court orders from other states.

How does interstate custody work under the UCCJEA?

According to the UCCJEA, whichever family court that originally determined child custody agreement would retain exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over any and all issues pertaining to the custody of the child. That state would be considered the child’s “home state” (which is whatever state that child had lived in for six months or more before the custody agreement was initiated.) 

Are there times when the “home state” changes?

But what happens if both parents move out of state? Would Michigan still be considered the child’s “home state” then? Nope – the rules change when both parents move out of state. There are certain instances where the child’s “home state” changes, which affects jurisdiction, and one of those is when all parties move out of the home state. In that case, the original state would lose jurisdiction if the court determines that neither the child, nor the parents (or guardian) have a significant connection to the original state. 

What about child support payments in interstate custody agreements?

Another concern for parents in interstate custody agreements is the issue of child support payments. Specifically – what happens when a child is emancipated in one state (which makes them old enough to no longer need financial support), but then moves to another state where the age of majority is higher (which means the parents would still pay child support). In these cases, the UCCJEA says that if the child has already been emancipated by a court order in one state, they can’t be “un-emancipated” in another state.

Divorce is complicated, but you don’t have to do it alone!

Whether you’re getting divorced and staying in Michigan, or moving out of state after your marriage is over, the process can be quite complex. Here at The kronzek Firm, our experienced family law attorneys have helped countless Michigan residents over the years to deal with every aspect of their divorce, from custody and child support, to alimony and asset division. Call 866 766 5245 today and let us help you too.