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Interstate Child Custody

Attorney Providing Guidance to Clients in West Palm Beach and Surrounding Areas

Matters concerning parenting time and child custody can be complex under normal circumstances. Interstate child custody issues may further complicate things by involving the jurisdiction of an out-of-state court. Interstate child custody laws typically are invoked in cases where one parent resides out-of-state, relocates to Florida, or seeks to enforce an out-of-state custody order in Florida. In these instances, and in other family law matters, a West Palm Beach child custody lawyer can protect your interests. Attorney Jessica Mishali can help parents navigate through interstate child custody proceedings and develop an appropriate strategy that meets their needs.

Florida Interstate Child Custody Laws

Florida and 48 other U.S. states have adopted the same law with respect to the jurisdiction of courts in child custody and visitation determinations. States that have enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) are required to enforce valid child custody and visitation orders of an out-of-state court in proceedings for divorce, separation, abuse, neglect, paternity, guardianship, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence.

Initial Jurisdiction Determination

While the UCCJEA governs jurisdictional issues that may be involved in interstate child custody disputes, the state law of the court with initial jurisdiction over the proceedings provides the standards for making or modifying these decisions. Initial jurisdiction determinations may have a lasting impact on child custody issues. With few exceptions, the UCCJEA vests exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over child custody matters in the original decree court that exercised its jurisdiction. A family law attorney can represent your interests when a court decides jurisdictional issues.

Home state and significant connection are the most common bases to establish initial jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The home state is the state where the child has been living with at least one parent for the six consecutive months prior to the proceeding. If the child has not lived in any state for at least six months, another state court may exercise jurisdiction if the child has sufficient ties to the state and substantial evidence concerning the child is available in the state. The child need not be physically present in the state for the court to exercise significant connection jurisdiction.

Modifying and Enforcing Interstate Child Custody Orders

Once an initial custody determination is made, modification by an out-of-state court is only possible if the parents and child no longer live in the home state, the home state no longer has a significant connection jurisdiction, or the home state declines jurisdiction. This applies even if the child is moved to another state. For example, a Florida court with home state jurisdiction over the child does not lose exclusive jurisdiction if the child spends extended visits with a parent who resides out-of-state. If the out-of-state parent refuses to return the child and attempts to modify the Florida custody order through a local court, the out-of-state court ordinarily will dismiss the action on grounds that Florida has exclusive jurisdiction.

Florida courts will enforce custody and visitation orders from an out-of-state court with jurisdiction, and vice versa. In rare instances, a Florida court may enter a temporary emergency order without jurisdiction if a child in Florida has been abandoned or is threatened with mistreatment or abuse.

Contact a Lawyer in West Palm Beach About Your Parental Rights

An attorney can provide guidance regarding interstate child custody issues and other complex family law matters. Jessica Mishali has significant experience representing parents in an interstate custody or visitation disputes, as well as child support and other types of family law matters. We can assist residents of Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties, including West Palm Beach, Indiantown, Royal Palm Beach, Hobe Sound, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jensen Beach, Pompano Beach, Stuart, Davie, Coral Springs, Palm City, Jupiter, Plantation, Wellington, and Pembroke Pines. Arrange a consultation with a skilled divorce lawyer by calling our office at (561) 833-2772 or contacting us online.

Client Reviews

Mishali is a great lawyer I counted on her with my liberty at stake so she fought for me & pulled through. She will contact you before court dates to make sure you appear, Always be on time, And has a terrific personality. I would highly recommend this lawyer, If I was able to rate her 10 stars I...


Jessica is so great at what she does. She is very dedicated and efficient. I don't know what I would've done with her. I highly recommend her for any service needed.


I hired Jessica Mishali to represent me. She did a phenomenal job for me. She is very talented and creative and goes above and beyond for me and I'm very confident she will do for all her future clients. She delivers results!!


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