How is custody addressed when parents live in other states?

With our mobile society, it is relatively easy to move to and from other states.  There may be situations where couples with children find themselves living in different states.  What happens with children?  The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA, may come into play.  The UCCJEA is a series of statutes, or laws, that address child custody when parents live in different states.  It addresses jurisdiction, or in which state child custody shall be addressed.  Usually parents and children must live in Minnesota for 180 days for our courts to have jurisdiction in a case.  The UCCJEA addresses jurisdiction if residency has not been met.

These statutes also may be applicable if there is an emergency involving the child, such as an abusive parent who will not return the children to the other parent.

The UCCJEA has been adopted by Minnesota in Chapter 518D.  The link to the Chapter is found at  These laws create a uniform plan of how the court from the different states have to look at child custody.  A majority, but not all, of our states has adopted the UCCJEA.

It may be necessary for a parents to obtain a family law attorney in Minnesota as well in the other involved state because an action needs to be filed in both states.  The UCCJEA involves many steps that require detail and specific steps.  It is a complex set of statutes that should be discussed with a family law attorney as quickly as possible.

For further information about the UCCJEA, please contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle to schedule a consultation by calling (218) 722-2655.

Jessica Sterle