Interstate Child Support And Custody Jurisdiction Issues

When parents live in different states or one parent relocates with a child to another state, enforcing or modifying custody orders can become complex.

At the Atlanta law office of Jody A. Miller, we help clients throughout north Georgia enforce and modify their child custody orders in interstate situations.

Interstate Child Custody Orders

Interstate jurisdiction over child custody matters is complex. Whether a state has jurisdiction to make custody orders depends on where you are in the process.

If a custody order has not been issued by a court and the parents live in separate states, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act will define which state has jurisdiction to make initial child custody decisions. Under the act, Georgia has jurisdiction over custody if:

  • Georgia is the child's home state, meaning the child lived in Georgia for the previous six months.
  • The child and one parent have significant connections with Georgia.
  • The child is currently in Georgia and is at risk of abuse or neglect should he or she return to his or her home state.

Once a child custody order has been issued by a court, that state will retain jurisdiction over custody matters indefinitely. If the original custody order was made in Georgia, then Georgia will have continuing jurisdiction to make modifications. As long as one parent remains in Georgia, generally no other state may modify an existing child custody order made by a Georgia court.

Enforcing An Existing Child Custody Order In Another State

Under the full faith and credit clause, decisions made by a state with proper jurisdiction must be respected by all other states. This means that when a Georgia court properly issues a child custody order, that order must be respected in other states.

However, enforcing Georgia child custody or support orders in other states can be difficult. Even within Georgia, jurisdictional issues arise. When parents live in separate counties, the rules regarding which county court governs are complex.

Depending on the circumstances involved, petitions for enforcement may be filed in Georgia. In other cases, you will be required to file the petition for enforcement in the state where your child's other parent resides. If you or your child's other parent no longer resides in Georgia, you need an experienced attorney to help you enforce your orders.

Contact An Experienced Attorney

Interstate child support and custody jurisdiction issues are complex. If you need help modifying or enforcing a Georgia child custody order, contact experienced family law lawyer Jody A. Miller today at 678-905-7562 or toll free at 866-319-0924.