Kendall Summers Attorney at Law

Child Custody (Multiple States or Countries)


Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

Child Custody cases can involve complex jurisdiction questions, where the parties live or have moved to differing counties, states or countries. Currently 49 states including Maryland have enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which sets forth uniform standards for states to apply in enforcing child custody determinations in other states. The UCCJEA also extends internationally cases involving foreign countries. In Maryland, the UCCJEA helps provide predictability and a legal framework in which to enforce or modify a Child Custody Order from another state, where the child is now a resident of Maryland, and also for ensuring that Maryland orders are enforced in other states that have likewise adopted the UCCJEA. Currently Massachusetts is the only state that has not adopted the UCCJEA.

The UCCJEA provides that child custody jurisdiction for an initial custody determination lies in the courts of a child’s home state. A child’s home state is determined by where the child has lived for the previous six months, or in the state with the most significant connections and available evidence.

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

The United States is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Convention is an international treaty with over 45 signatory countries including nearly all European countries, some Soviet and Yugoslav republics as well as some countries in Africa and South America.

The Hague Convention is designed to provide a uniform legal structure for parents to pursue recovery of a child where who has been abducted to another country that is a signatory to the Convention. Procedures under the Hague Convention involve notification to the United States State Department and the filing of a petition. An attorney must be retained in the foreign country to process the petition there in the foreign court system.

Do you need legal help with a Child Custody matter involving multiple states or a foreign country? Contact the Law Office of Kendall Summers! If we are not able to handle your case, we will seek to help you to find counsel in the state or country who can help you.

Attorney Kendall Summers practiced international law with our nation’s premiere law firms, including Morgan Lewis and Bockius and Willkie Farr and Gallagher. If we cannot help you in Maryland, we will help you find directories of attorneys in the states or countries where you need legal counsel.