Understanding the UCCJEA

The decision on which State to file for custody is determined by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA). Whether North Carolina is the appropriate state to file for custody may depend on whether the Court is making a decision for the first time (initial custody decision) or whether a party is seeking to modify a decision which was already made (modification). This article is intended to provide a basic introduction to the UCCJEA. If you are considering filing for child custody or you have been served with papers from the other parent, contact Cristina Quantock today.


If child custody has never been decided by a Court, then where an action should be filed is going to depend on the child’s home state. North Carolina law allows a court to make a custody decision if this is the state where a child has lived with a parent (or person who is serving the role of a parent) for six months prior to the filing. If there is no home state or another state has declined jurisdiction, then a custody action may still be filed in North Carolina under appropriate circumstances.


Once a state has made a custody determination, any request to modify that decision also must be filed in that state. This rules applies so long as the child or either parent resides in that state. This principle is known as “exclusive, continuing jurisdiction.” With the exception of temporary emergency custody orders, exclusive, continuing jurisdiction applies for any request to modify a child custody determination.

If you believe North Carolina is the appropriate state to file for custody, contact Cristina Quantock for more information.

Contact Cristina Quantock if you are considering a divorce and want to make sure you are prepared.

About the Author: Cristina Quantock has been practicing in North Carolina for over ten years. Her practice includes both criminal defense and family law. She understands firsthand how emotionally draining it is when a marriage ends and is dedicated to helping her clients navigate this difficult process.
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