DETERMINING CHILD CUSTODY IN MINNESOTA COURTS WHERE IS HOME?

Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 by Tim Simonson and is filed under Child Custody,  Child Support,  Children,  Minnesota.

If you want a court to help you figure what right(s) you might have to raise your child, you want to be sure you’re asking the right court, and in particular, the court of the proper state.  Usually that’s an easy question to answer.  Typically (and hopefully) it’s not hard to figure out what State your child is living in. 

But, thanks to airports, internet, and interstate highways, it’s not hard to be mobile; even for parents and children!  In cases where parents move with a child, it can be difficult for courts to figure out which state’s courts should make decisions about which parent has rights to that child. Thankfully, our lawmakers have come up with a way to help answer the question.

UCCJEA & ‘HOME STATE’

Minnesota Statute § 518D.201(a), known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, is a law that has similar versions in all 50 states.  It provides that a Minnesota Court can decide custody rights to a child who calls Minnesota their “home state”, or at least could have, in the six months prior to the parent bringing their case to court.  This law says that a child’s ‘home state’ is where a child lived with a parent . . . for at least six consecutive months before the case was brought to court.  For the full definition, have a look at Minnesota Statutes § 518D.102(h).  Basically, the state where the child has lived for 6 consecutive months, will be the child’s “home state.”

In addition to the “home state” test, there are a few other things to sort out before a Minnesota Court assume control of a child custody matter:

1. One parent must remain living in the state;

2. No other state can call itself the child’s “home state”; or

3. If another state CAN call itself the child’s “home state”, it has declined to and:

Minnesota is a more appropriate forum,

Child and at least one parent have a significant connection to Minnesota, 

Substantial evidence is available in the state;

4.  No other state’s court takes the case; and

5.  No other state court meets the criteria for assuming jurisdiction.

So if a Minnesota Court is asked to take a child custody case, and there’s an indiction that another state might have the right to hear the case (because the child has spent time in another state) a judge can communicate with a judge of another state to figure out which state should properly take the case. 

With these laws in place, it’s possible that even if a child is moved out of Minnesota and is living in another state, Minnesota still has control of the case if, for instance:

  • the child hasn’t lived in that state for more than six months, OR,
  • if the courts of that other state decide that the case is more appropriately brought

to a Minnesota court because it is inconvenient for the parties to appear in that other state, OR

  • if domestic abuse is involved.

If you are seeking relief in a Minnesota Court for child custody or parenting time rights to your child, and if your child or the other parent has lived in another state, expect that the court will need to figure out if your request is properly made before a Minnesota court, or perhaps somewhere else!

If you want a court to help you figure what right(s) you might have to raise your child, you want to be sure you’re asking the right court, and in particular, the court of the proper state.  Usually that’s an easy question to answer.  Typically (and hopefully) it’s not hard to figure out what State your child is living in. 

But, thanks to airports, internet, and interstate highways, it’s not hard to be mobile; even for parents and children!  In cases where parents move with a child, it can be difficult for courts to figure out which state’s courts should make decisions about which parent has rights to that child. Thankfully, our lawmakers have come up with a way to help answer the question.

UCCJEA & ‘HOME STATE’

Minnesota Statute § 518D.201(a), known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, is a law that has similar versions in all 50 states.  It provides that a Minnesota Court can decide custody rights to a child who calls Minnesota their “home state”, or at least could have, in the six months prior to the parent bringing their case to court.  This law says that a child’s ‘home state’ is where a child lived with a parent . . . for at least six consecutive months before the case was brought to court.  For the full definition, have a look at Minnesota Statutes § 518D.102(h).  Basically, the state where the child has lived for 6 consecutive months, will be the child’s “home state.”

In addition to the “home state” test, there are a few other things to sort out before a Minnesota Court assume control of a child custody matter:

1. One parent must remain living in the state;

2. No other state can call itself the child’s “home state”; or

3. If another state CAN call itself the child’s “home state”, it has declined to and:

Minnesota is a more appropriate forum,

Child and at least one parent have a significant connection to Minnesota, 

Substantial evidence is available in the state;

4.  No other state’s court takes the case; and

5.  No other state court meets the criteria for assuming jurisdiction.

So if a Minnesota Court is asked to take a child custody case, and there’s an indiction that another state might have the right to hear the case (because the child has spent time in another state) a judge can communicate with a judge of another state to figure out which state should properly take the case. 

With these laws in place, it’s possible that even if a child is moved out of Minnesota and is living in another state, Minnesota still has control of the case if, for instance:

  • the child hasn’t lived in that state for more than six months, OR,
  • if the courts of that other state decide that the case is more appropriately brought

to a Minnesota court because it is inconvenient for the parties to appear in that other state, OR

  • if domestic abuse is involved.

If you are seeking relief in a Minnesota Court for child custody or parenting time rights to your child, and if your child or the other parent has lived in another state, expect that the court will need to figure out if your request is properly made before a Minnesota court, or perhaps somewhere else!

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If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.