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How does relocating affect child custody and support?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2022 | Child Custody

Relocation requires planning in every aspect of life – professionally, economically, logistically – on its own. When prompted by, or the result of, a divorce, the process can bring more stress, especially to children. Parents with children who reside in different states must deal with legal as well as practical considerations.

What are UCCJA and UIFSA?

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA), courts use several factors to determine a child’ “home state.” Factors considered include how long the child has lived with the parent (6-month requirement), relationships within the state, e.g., grandparents, friends, teachers, and safety.

A presumption grants home-state status to the state making the decision. Thus, states that cannot meet these requirements have no authority to issue a custody judgment.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) permits a parent to obtain child support from an ex-spouse regardless of where the spouse resides. A court has authority, or jurisdiction, over the noncustodial parent if:

  • The parent lived in the state when the parents applied for the custody order
  • The entire family lived in the state where the custodial parent presently lives
  • Consent of the noncustodial parent

How is child support calculated?

The laws above can have significance for parents and families who share custody or have a divorce decree in effect. For example, states use three different models for child support guidelines. Indiana uses a model based on the premise that if the couple lived together, the parents would pool the income and spend it for the benefit of everyone, including the children.

While recent patterns may change with the changing economic conditions, data show more people left Indiana than moved in March of 2019 and March of 2020 in 24 states. Attorneys with an understanding of how relocation alters the legal relationships between people and how child custody and support laws apply in a specific case can provide assistance.