Jurisdiction and Child-Napping Issues

If the spouses reside in different states, or the family has recently moved to another state, the question of which specific state has the proper authority and jurisdiction to hear a child custody case might arise. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act has established a uniform law that all 50 states are required to abide by. This legislation was passed in order to resolve these issues, which has helped prevent the problems of child-napping by parents who are dissatisfied with a particular state's decision.

In the past it was not uncommon for a parent who lost a custody battle to take the child across state lines in an attempt to have another state's court award new custody arrangements. A set of standardized guidelines have been established to evaluate which specific state should have sole power over making the custody decisions, so presently there is seldom a dispute between states regarding custodial jurisdiction.

If a noncustodial parent snatches a child, at which time you are unable to or feel unsafe to go where he or she is living to retrieve the child, talk to your attorney and if need be file an immediate petition for contempt of court. This is considered "child-napping," and is subject to severe penalties.