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What happens if my ex-spouse takes the kids to a different state?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2021 | Child Custody

If your ex-spouse won custody of your children, and they move to a different state, you might be nervous about a few things. Can they bring up your spousal support or child support order in a court in their new state and get it increased? Can they get a new court to take away your visitation rights?

The UCCJEA

If these are your concerns, then there is good news for you. There is a statute that all states in the United States have adopted, which protects your rights in situations like these – even if your ex-spouse goes to a different state.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) protects the jurisdiction of the original court that issued a child custody and support order. What this means is that, if you get divorced in an Alabama divorce court and your ex-spouse moves to Georgia, a Georgia court will enforce the original Alabama court order and won’t modify it.

In other words, once you get a divorce decree and support order in your home state’s court, only that court can modify it in the future – unless certain circumstances occur.

If you, your ex-spouse and the children all leave the original state, and none of you have significant contact with that state anymore, then that state’s court can transfer jurisdiction over the case to a court in a different state. So, using the above example, if you move to Georgia as well, then the Alabama court can grant the power to modify the support order to a Georgia court.

This statute’s purpose is to prevent people from going to a different state in order to modify a court order that they don’t like. If your ex-spouse took your kids to a different state, you can rest assured that, as long as you stay in your home state, they won’t be able to modify your order from that new state’s courts.