In order for an Arizona Court to enter enforceable orders relating to minor children (parenting time, legal decision making (custody), etc.), the Arizona Court must have jurisdiction over the child.
To determine whether or not Arizona courts have jurisdiction over children and child-related issues, Arizona follows the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act , commonly referred to as the “UCCJEA”, which confirms that Arizona courts have jurisdiction if: (1) Arizona is the home state of the child on the date of the beginning of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months prior to the beginning of the proceeding and the child has been removed from this state, and the petitioning parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in the state; or (2) A court of another state does not have jurisdiction or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the grounds that Arizona is the more appropriate forum as the child and his parents have a significant connection with Arizona and substantial evidence is available in Arizona concerning the child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships; or (3) all other courts having jurisdiction have declined to exercise jurisdiction, or (4) no other state has jurisdiction. A.R.S. § 25-1031(A).
In instances where family law proceedings involving children are simultaneously pending in multiple jurisdictions, counsel in either case, or the court in either case, may request a UCCJEA conference between the judges for the purpose of determining which court has jurisdiction over the children. Although underlying facts control UCCJEA contests, how those facts are presented and the legal arguments that are made also have a tremendous impact on your outcome. While most competent family law attorneys are capable of analyzing the application of A.R.S. § 25-1031(A) to a given set of facts, Dustin T. Dudley is an experienced family law attorney, who has considerable experience actually gathering and presenting legally relevant facts and making legal arguments to Courts on UCCJEA issues in an effective and persuasive manner.