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When do Florida courts have jurisdiction over child custody cases? P.2

Last time, we began looking at the Florida Uniform Child Custody Act, which governs when Florida courts have jurisdiction to handle child custody determinations. We’ve already looked at the conditions that must be met for a Florida court to have initial jurisdiction and continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a child custody matter.

Florida courts do not have jurisdiction to modify a child custody determination made in another state unless a Florida court has jurisdiction to make an initial decision in a child custody case, and the court of the other state involved concludes that it does not have exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the case, that it would be more convenient for a Florida court to take the case, or the Florida court or a court of the other state determines that the child or the parents do not currently live in the other state. 

The Florida law addresses jurisdictional matters with respect to a number of circumstances surrounding child custody cases. One such circumstance is temporary emergency jurisdiction, which can be granted to a Florida court when a child is in the state of Florida but has been abandoned by his or her parent or guardian, or when the child has been threatened with abuse or mistreatment.  Florida law also provides direction as to how Florida courts which have initial jurisdiction over a child custody case should proceed when there are simultaneous proceedings in another state. The statute also addresses how courts should proceed with respect exercising its discretion in cases where jurisdiction was based on “unjustifiable conduct.”

Needless to say, jurisdictional matters in child custody cases can get complicated when states don’t agree on where jurisdiction lies. When difficulties arise, it is critical to have the advice and advocacy of an experienced attorney to help navigate the legal issues involved. 

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