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What is the Illinois Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the Illinois “UCCJEA”)

The Illinois Uniform

Jurisdiction Child Custody Enforcement Act (the “Illinois UCCJEA” or “UCCJEA”), is Illinois’ primary law for settling interstate child custody jurisdiciton disputes. For instance, the UCCJEA can come into play when an Illinois court, or the court of another state, has jurisdiction over a child custody case.

For instance, suppose Father, Mother and Daughter live in Illinois. Then, the Mother decides she wants to leave Father and take the Daughter to Michigan. The legal term for what the Mother is doing is “removal.” After Mother removes Daughter, she will probably file a child custody suit in Michigan. The Father, being in Illinios, files in Illinois because he would prefer Illinois to have jurisdiction over the case.

In such as scenario, the UCCJEA outlines rules and procedures the courts of Illinois and Michigan (or any two states) must use to determine which could should have jurisdiciton over the case.

Parties to child custody suits would normally strongly prefer that the state he or she is living in has jurisdiction over the case. There are several reasons for this, in no particular order: 1) it is a hassle to travel to another state to attend hearings, and child custody disputes can involve numerous appearances in court, 2) it can be challenging to find an attorney that lives in another states, 3) it is not unheard of for judges to favor the local party, particularly elected judges in small towns, 4) though the UCCJEA is fairly similar across states, other pertinent laws may differ.