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UCCJEA and child custody from a Tennessee parent's viewpoint

Some Tennessee residents with former spouses now living in other states may be parents sharing the custody of their child across state borders. These parents would agree that when parents of a child live in different states, child custody and visitation can pose some serious challenges.

The main area of concern for parents living in different states is the difference in child custody, visitation rights and other family laws from one state to another. As a result of these often varying laws, a number of child custody and visitation cases become complicated. In order to address this issue, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which has also been adopted by the state of Tennessee.

The primary purpose of the act is to eliminate the possibility of jurisdictional competition between courts of two or more states. Historically, such incidents have taken place and resulted in relocation of children while hampering their best interests. Therefore, the UCCJEA encourages cooperation among courts in different states so that the state court best equipped to decide the case is the court with the best interests of the child in mind.

The act also aims to deter parental abductions, which some parents resort to in order to obtain a favorable decision from a court that is in the state where that parent lives. Additionally, the UCCJEA also tries to avoid retrying an existing custody or visitation arrangement in another state. Rather, the UCCJEA stresses the other state's acceptance of the original decision.

Irrespective of the existence of the UCCJEA, interstate child custody disputes are often fairly complicated and there have been a number of incidents that support this fact. Therefore, it may be a wise decision for parents caught in an interstate child custody dispute to seek legal advice.

Source: LRCVAW.org, "Tennessee UCCJEA," Accessed on Oct. 16, 2014

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