Out of State
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UCCJEA issues in Dependency
In re EW (2019) 37 Cal.App 5th 1167
California juvenile court has the right to make custody orders since the initial custody orders made in family court came out of California. UCCJEA applies always.
The mother at the time lived in South Carolina and the father lived in LA. The father and mother pursuant to a previous family court order were granted joint legal custody with the father having summer visitation.
The child was removed from the mother for physical abuse allegations. At the detention hearing the mother raised an issue of UCCJEA and contested that the California did not jurisdiction given that she resided in South Carolina. Father’s counsel averred that there was not a UCCJEA issue as the initial family court orders were made by the orange county family court in 2014.
The trial court asserts that Mother had misconstrued UCCJEA. UCCJEA applies to jurisdiction of California court to make custody determinations, but mother misapplied the fact that she resided in South Carolina in rendering an opinion that UCCJEA does not apply in her case. When applying UCCJEA the California court has “jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if the state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding . . . .” § 3421, subd. (a)(1). Simply put it means that the Orange County family court order from 2014 applies here and thus results in jurisdiction in California.
Also it should be noted that
Mother does not suggest, nor could she, that California was not the child’s home state when the initial custody determination was made.
Further more UCCJEA mandates that a California court is divested of its exclusive, continuing jurisdiction only when
(1) A court of this state determines that neither the child, nor the child and one parent, nor the child and a person acting as a parent have a significant connection with this state and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this state concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.
(2) A court of this state or a court of another state determines that the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in this state.”
The trial court asserts that neither of those circumstances has occurred in this case. The father continues to have legal and physical custody in California. He has not moved thus making the child have significant connection to California and no orders have been made by any court in its capacity determining that the father and minor no longer reside in California.
Mother also asserted that there was
“substantial evidence” concerning the allegations of her physical abuse of the child existed in South Carolina, not California
The court asserts that even if her logic were applied § 3422, subdivision (a)(1) asserts that California courts must retain continuing jurisdiction unless both conditions that (1) neither the child, nor the child and the parent have a significant connection with California and (2) substantial evidence demonstrating the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationship is no longer available in this California. The trial court record and mother indicate that the other prong, any deterioration in the relationship between father and child has not occurred. The court finds that both prongs are not met and they both need to have been met in order to satisfy § 3422, subdivision (a)(1).
Because of this, the appellate court upheld the judgement by the trial court ordering that the juvenile court has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the matter.
Juvenile Dependency and