Legal Resource Center on Violence Against Women


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Interstate child custody cases are governed by several state and federal statutes. These include:

State Statutes:
  • State child custody jurisdictional statutes (the UCCJA or the UCCJEA), which determine when a state court may take jurisdiction over (hear) a custody matter, when a state court may change an existing custody order, and other related issues.
  • The UCCJEA from the National Council of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws provides commentary.
  • State long-arm statutes, which determine whether a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over (hear a case involving) an out-of-state defendant.
  • State relocation statutes, which determine whether a custodial parent may relocate with her children and establish notice requirements for such a move.

Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), which determines whether courts must honor and enforce custody orders issued by other states, as well as whether a court may change an order issued by another state and whether a court may exercise jurisdiction over (hear) a case when there is a proceeding pending (going on) in another state.

Federal Violence Against Women Actís Full Faith and Credit provisions, which (require protection orders issued by a court in one location to be enforced nationwide) govern interstate enforcement of protection orders.

Domestic violence cases are governed by many other state statutes, including state protection order and criminal laws and child custody statutes. You can find information about these laws on other internet sites, including:

The Family Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: Searchable database of domestic violence/protection order statutes and domestic violence criminal statutes. State-by-state listing of domestic violence statutes, forms, and other resources.

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