California : Family Code: 3400-3425
(provided by Divorce Source, Inc.)
3400. This part may be cited as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.
3401. (a) The general purposes of this part are to:
(1) Avoid jurisdiction competition and conflict with courts of other states in matters of child custody which have in the past resulted in the shifting of children from state to state with harmful effects on their well-being.(b) This part shall be construed to promote the general purposes stated in this section.
(2) Promote cooperation with the courts of other states to the end that a custody decree is rendered in that state which can best decide the case in the interest of the child.
(3) Assure that litigation concerning the custody of a child take place ordinarily in the state with which the child and the child's family have the closest connection and where significant evidence concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships is most readily available, and that courts of this state decline the exercise of jurisdiction when the child and the child's family have a closer connection with another state.
(4) Discourage continuing controversies over child custody in the interest of greater stability of home environment and of secure family relationships for the child.
(5) Deter abductions and other unilateral removals of children undertaken to obtain custody awards.
(6) Avoid relitigation of custody decisions of other states in this state insofar as feasible.
(7) Facilitate the enforcement of custody decrees of other states.
(8) Promote and expand the exchange of information and other forms of mutual assistance between the courts of this state and those of other states concerned with the same child.
3402. As used in this part:
(a) "Contestant" means a person, including a parent, who claims a right to custody or visitation rights with respect to a child.
(b) "Custody determination" means a court decision and court orders and instructions providing for the custody of a child, including visitation rights; it does not include a decision relating to child support or any other monetary obligation of any person.
(c) "Custody proceeding" includes proceedings in which a custody determination is one of several issues, such as a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties, and includes child neglect and dependency proceedings.
(d) "Decree" or "custody decree" means a custody determination contained in a judicial decree or order made in a custody proceeding, and includes an initial decree and a modification decree.
(e) "Home state" means the state in which the child immediately preceding the time involved lived with the child's parents, a parent, or a person acting as parent, for at least six consecutive months, and in the case of a child less than six months old the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. Periods of temporary absence of any of the named persons are counted as part of the six-month or other period.
(f) "Initial decree" means the first custody decree concerning a particular child.
(g) "Modification decree" means a custody decree which modifies or replaces a prior decree, whether made by the court which rendered the prior decree or by another court.
(h) "Physical custody" means actual possession and control of a child.
(i) "Person acting as parent" means a person, other than a parent, who has physical custody of a child and who has either been awarded custody by the court or claims a right to custody.
(j) "State" means any state, territory, or possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
3403. (a) A court of this state which is competent to decide child custody matters has jurisdiction to make a child custody determination by initial or modification decree if the conditions as set forth in any of the following paragraphs are met:
(1) This state (A) is the home state of the child at the time of commencement of the proceeding, or (B) had been the child's home state within six months before commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state because of removal or retention by a person claiming custody of the child or for other reasons, and a parent or person acting as parent continues to live in this state.
(2) It is in the best interest of the child that a court of this state assume jurisdiction because (A) the child and the child's parents, or the child and at least one contestant, have a significant connection with this state, and (B) there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the child's present or future care, protection, training, and personal relationships.
(3) The child is physically present in this state and (A) the child has been abandoned or (B) it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child has been subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse or is otherwise neglected or dependent. For the purposes of this subdivision, "subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse" includes a child who has a parent who is a victim of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211.
(4) Both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(A) It appears that no other state would have jurisdiction under prerequisites substantially in accordance with paragraph (1), (2), or (3) or another state has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child.
(B) It is in the best interest of the child that this court assume jurisdiction.
(b) Except under the conditions specified in paragraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a), physical presence in this state of the child, or of the child and one of the contestants, is not alone sufficient to confer jurisdiction on a court of this state to make a child custody determination.
(c) Physical presence of the child, while desirable, is not a prerequisite for jurisdiction to determine the custody of the child.
3404. Before making a decree under this part, reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard shall be given to the contestants, any parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated, and any person who has physical custody of the child. If any of these persons is outside this state, notice and opportunity to be heard shall be given pursuant to Section 3405.
3405. (a) Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction over a person outside this state shall be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice, and may be made in any of the following ways:
(1) By personal delivery outside this state in the manner prescribed for service of process within this state.(b) Notice under this section shall be served, mailed, delivered, or last published at least 10 days before any hearing in this state.
(2) In the manner prescribed by the law of the place in which the service is made for service of process in that place in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction.
(3) By any form of mail addressed to the person to be served and requesting a receipt.
(4) As directed by the court (including publication, if other means of notification are ineffective).
(c) Proof of service outside this state may be made by affidavit of the individual who made the service, or in the manner prescribed by the law of this state, the order pursuant to which the service is made, or the law of the place in which the service is made. If service is made by mail, proof may be a receipt signed by the addressee or other evidence of delivery to the addressee.
(d) Notice is not required if a person submits to the jurisdiction of the court.
3406. (a) A court of this state shall not exercise its jurisdiction under this part if at the time of filing the petition a proceeding concerning the custody of the child was pending in a court of another state exercising jurisdiction substantially in conformity with this part, unless the proceeding is stayed by the court of the other state because this state is a more appropriate forum or for other reasons.
(b) Before hearing the petition in a custody proceeding, the court shall examine the pleadings and other information supplied by the parties under Section 3410 and shall consult the child custody registry established under Section 3417 concerning the pendency of proceedings with respect to the child in other states. If the court has reason to believe that proceedings may be pending in another state, it shall direct an inquiry to the state court administrator or other appropriate official of the other state.
(c) If the court is informed during the course of the proceeding that a proceeding concerning the custody of the child was pending in another state before the court assumed jurisdiction, it shall stay the proceeding and communicate with the court in which the other proceeding is pending to the end that the issue may be litigated in the more appropriate forum and that information be exchanged in accordance with Sections 3420 to 3423, inclusive. If a court of this state has made a custody decree before being informed of a pending proceeding in a court of another state, it shall immediately inform that court of the fact. If the court is informed that a proceeding was commenced in another state after it assumed jurisdiction, it shall likewise inform the other court to the end that the issues may be litigated in the more appropriate forum.
3407. (a) A court which has jurisdiction under this part to make an initial or modification decree may decline to exercise its jurisdiction any time before making a decree if it finds that it is an inconvenient forum to make a custody determination under the circumstances of the case and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum.
(b) A finding of inconvenient forum may be made upon the court's own motion or upon motion of a party or a guardian ad litem or other representative of the child.
(c) In determining if it is an inconvenient forum, the court shall consider if it is in the interest of the child that another state assume jurisdiction. For this purpose it may take into account the following factors, among others:
(1) If another state is or recently was the child's home state.(d) Before determining whether to decline or retain jurisdiction, the court may communicate with a court of another state and exchange information pertinent to the assumption of jurisdiction by either court with a view to ensuring that jurisdiction will be exercised by the more appropriate court and that a forum will be available to the parties.
(2) If another state has a closer connection with the child and the child's family or with the child and one or more of the contestants.
(3) If substantial evidence concerning the child's present or future care, protection, training, and personal relationships is more readily available in another state.
(4) If the parties have agreed on another forum which is no less appropriate.
(5) If the exercise of jurisdiction by a court of this state would contravene any of the purposes stated in Section 3401.
(e) If the court finds that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, it may dismiss the proceedings, or it may stay the proceedings upon condition that a custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another named state or upon any other conditions which may be just and proper, including the condition that a moving party stipulate consent and submission to the jurisdiction of the other forum.
(f) The court may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under this part if a custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another proceeding while retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.
(g) If it appears to the court that it is clearly an inappropriate forum, the court may require the party who commenced the proceedings to pay, in addition to the costs of the proceedings in this state, necessary travel and other expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by other parties or their witnesses. Payment is to be made to the clerk of the court for remittance to the proper party. (h) Upon dismissal or stay of proceedings under this section, the court shall inform the court found to be the more appropriate forum of this fact, or if the court which would have jurisdiction in the other state is not certainly known, shall transmit the information to the court administrator or other appropriate official for forwarding to the appropriate court.
(i) Any communication received from another state informing this state of a finding of inconvenient forum because a court of this state is the more appropriate forum shall be filed in the custody registry of the appropriate court. Upon assuming jurisdiction, the court of this state shall inform the original court of this fact.
3408. (a) If the petitioner for an initial decree has wrongfully taken the child from another state or has engaged in similar reprehensible conduct, the court may decline to exercise jurisdiction for purposes of adjudication of custody if this is just and proper under the circumstances.
(b) Unless required in the interest of the child, the court shall not exercise its jurisdiction to modify a custody decree of another state if the petitioner, without consent of the person entitled to custody, has improperly removed the child from the physical custody of the person entitled to custody or has improperly retained the child after a visit or other temporary relinquishment of physical custody. If the petitioner has violated any other provision of a custody decree of another state, the court may decline to exercise its jurisdiction if this is just and proper under the circumstances.
(c) Where the court declines to exercise jurisdiction upon petition for an initial custody decree pursuant to subdivision (a), the court shall notify the parent or other appropriate person and the prosecuting attorney of the appropriate jurisdiction in the other state. If a request to that effect is received from the other state, the court shall order the petitioner to appear with the child in a custody proceeding instituted in the other state in accordance with Section 3421. If no request is made within a reasonable time after the notification, the court may entertain a petition to determine custody by the petitioner if it has jurisdiction pursuant to Section 3403.
(d) Where the court refuses to assume jurisdiction to modify the custody decree of another state pursuant to subdivision (b) or pursuant to Section 3414, the court shall notify the person who has legal custody under the decree of the other state and the prosecuting attorney of the appropriate jurisdiction in the other state and may order the petitioner to return the child to the person who has legal custody. If it appears that the order will be ineffective and the legal custodian is ready to receive the child within a period of a few days, the court may place the child in a foster care home for that period, pending return of the child to the legal custodian. At the same time, the court shall advise the petitioner that any petition for modification of custody must be directed to (1) the appropriate court of the other state which has continuing jurisdiction or (2) if that court declines jurisdiction, to a court in a state which has jurisdiction pursuant to Section 3403.
(e) In appropriate cases, a court dismissing a petition under this section may charge the petitioner with necessary travel and other expenses, including attorney's fees and the cost of returning the child to another state.
(f) In making a determination pursuant to subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, the court shall not consider as a factor weighing against the petitioner any taking of the child, or retention of the child after a visit or other temporary relinquishment of physical custody, from the person who has legal custody, if there is evidence that the taking or retention of the child was a result of domestic violence against the petitioner, as defined in Section 6211.
3409. (a) Every party in a custody proceeding in the party's first pleading or in an affidavit attached to that pleading shall give information under oath as to the child's present address, the places where the child has lived within the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. However, where there are allegations of domestic violence or child abuse, any addresses of the party alleging abuse and of the child that are unknown to the other party are confidential and may not be disclosed in the pleading or affidavit. In this pleading or affidavit, every party shall further declare under oath as to each of the following whether the party:
(1) Has participated, as a party, witness, or in any other capacity, in any other litigation concerning the custody of the same child in this or any other state.(b) If the declaration as to any of the above items is in the affirmative, the declarant shall give additional information under oath as required by the court. The court may examine the parties under oath as to details of the information furnished and as to other matters pertinent to the court's jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.
(2) Has information of any custody proceeding concerning the child pending in a court of this or any other state.
(3) Knows of any person not a party to the proceedings who has physical custody of the child or claims to have custody or visitation rights with respect to the child.
(c) Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any custody proceeding concerning the child in this or any other state of which the party obtained information during this proceeding.
3410. If the court learns from information furnished by the parties pursuant to Section 3409 or from other sources that a person not a party to the custody proceeding has physical custody of the child or claims to have custody or visitation rights with respect to the child, it shall order that person to be joined as a party and to be duly notified of the pendency of the proceeding and of the person's joinder as a party. If the person joined as a party is outside this state, the person shall be served with process or otherwise notified in accordance with Section 3405.
3411. (a) The court may order any party to the proceeding who is within or without this state to appear personally before the court. If that party has physical custody of the child, the court may order him or her to appear personally with the child. If the party who is ordered to appear with the child cannot be served or fails to obey the order, or it appears the order will be ineffective, the court may issue a warrant of arrest against the party and a protective custody warrant for the child, to secure the party's or the child's appearance or both, before the court. The protective custody warrant for the child shall contain an order that the arresting agency shall place the child in protective custody, or return the child as directed by the court. The protective custody warrant may be served in any county in the same manner as a warrant of arrest and may be served at any time of the day or night.
(b) If a party to the proceeding whose presence is desired by the court is outside this state with or without the child the court may order that the notice given under Section 3405 include a statement directing that party to appear personally with or without the child and stating that failure to appear may result in a decision adverse to that party and the issuance of a warrant pursuant to subdivision (a).
(c) If a party to the proceeding who is outside this state is directed to appear under subdivision (b) or desires to appear personally before the court with or without the child, the court may require another party to pay to the clerk of the court travel and other necessary expenses of the party so appearing and of the child if this is just and proper under the circumstances.
3412. A custody decree rendered by a court of this state which had jurisdiction under Section 3403 binds all parties who have been served in this state or notified in accordance with Section 3405 or who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, and who have been given an opportunity to be heard. As to these parties, the custody decree is conclusive as to all issues of law and fact decided and as to the custody determination made unless and until that determination is modified pursuant to law, including this part.
3413. The courts of this state shall recognize and enforce an initial or modification decree of a court of another state which had assumed jurisdiction under statutory provisions substantially in accordance with this part or which was made under factual circumstances meeting the jurisdictional standards of this part, so long as this decree has not been modified in accordance with jurisdictional standards substantially similar to those of this part.
3414. (a) If a court of another state has made a custody decree, a court of this state shall not modify that decree unless (1) it appears to the court of this state that the court which rendered the decree does not now have jurisdiction under jurisdictional prerequisites substantially in accordance with this part or has declined to assume jurisdiction to modify the decree and (2) the court of this state has jurisdiction.
(b) If a court of this state is authorized under subdivision (a) and Section 3408 to modify a custody decree of another state, the court shall give due consideration to the transcript of the record and other documents of all previous proceedings submitted to it in accordance with Section 3423.
3415. Section 3140 is applicable to proceedings pursuant to this part.
3416. (a) A certified copy of a custody decree of another state may be filed in the office of the clerk of any superior court of this state. The clerk shall treat the decree in the same manner as a custody decree of the superior court of this state. A custody decree so filed has the same effect and shall be enforced in like manner as a custody decree rendered by a court of this state.
(b) A person violating a custody decree of another state which makes it necessary to enforce the decree in this state may be required to pay necessary travel and other expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by the party entitled to the custody or that party's witnesses.
3417. The clerk of each superior court shall maintain a registry in which the clerk shall enter all of the following:
(a) Certified copies of custody decrees of other states received for filing.
(b) Communications as to the pendency of custody proceedings in other states.
(c) Communications concerning a finding of inconvenient forum by a court of another state.
(d) Other communications or documents concerning custody proceedings in another state which may affect the jurisdiction of a court of this state or the disposition to be made by it in a custody proceeding.
(e) Any custody agreement for which an order is requested regarding a child who is not the subject of another order. The parties shall submit the affidavit required by Section 3409, on the form developed by the Judicial Council for use with Section 3409.
3418. The clerk of a superior court of this state, at the request of the court of another state or at the request of any person who is affected by or has a legitimate interest in a custody decree, shall certify and forward a copy of the decree to that court or person.
3419. In addition to other procedural devices available to a party, any party to the proceeding or a guardian ad litem or other representative of the child may adduce testimony of witnesses, including parties and the child, by deposition or otherwise, in another state. The court on its own motion may direct that the testimony of a person be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony shall be taken.
3420. (a) A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to hold a hearing to adduce evidence, to order a party to produce or give evidence under other procedures of that state, or to have social studies made with respect to the custody of a child involved in proceedings pending in the court of this state; and to forward to the court of this state certified copies of the transcript of the record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise adduced, or any social studies prepared in compliance with the request. The cost of the services may be assessed against the parties or, if necessary, ordered paid by the state.
(b) A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to order a party to custody proceedings pending in the court of this state to appear in the proceedings, and if that party has physical custody of the child, to appear with the child. The request may state that travel and other necessary expenses of the party and of the child whose appearance is desired will be assessed against another party or will otherwise be paid.
3421. (a) Upon request of the court of another state, the courts of this state which are competent to hear custody matters may order a person in this state to appear at a hearing to adduce evidence or to produce or give evidence under other procedures available in this state. A certified copy of the transcript of the record of the hearing or the evidence otherwise adduced shall be forwarded by the clerk of the court to the requesting court.
(b) A person within this state may voluntarily give his or her testimony or statement in this state for use in a custody proceeding outside this state.
(c) Upon request of the court of another state, a competent court of this state may order a person in this state to appear alone or with the child in a custody proceeding in another state. The court may condition compliance with the request upon assurance by the other state that travel and other necessary expenses will be advanced or reimbursed. If the person who has physical custody of the child cannot be served or fails to obey the order, or it appears the order will be ineffective, the court may issue a warrant of arrest against the person to secure the person's appearance with the child in the other state.
3422. In any custody proceeding in this state, the court shall preserve the pleadings, orders and decrees, any record that has been made of its hearings, social studies, and other pertinent documents until the child reaches 18 years of age. Upon appropriate request of the court of another state, the court shall forward to the other court certified copies of any or all of such documents.
3423. If a custody decree has been rendered in another state concerning a child involved in a custody proceeding pending in a court of this state, the court of this state upon taking jurisdiction of the case shall request of the court of the other state a certified copy of the transcript of any court record and other documents mentioned in Section 3422.
3424. The general policies of this part extend to the international area. The provisions of this part relating to the recognition and enforcement of custody decrees of other states apply to custody decrees and decrees involving legal institutions similar in nature to custody rendered by appropriate authorities of other nations if reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard were given to all affected persons.
3425. Upon the request of a party to a custody proceeding which raises a question of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under this part, the case shall be given calendar priority and handled expeditiously.
California Family Code Contents
California State Resources & Articles
Copyrightę 1996-. All rights reserved by MH Sub I, LLC dba 3StepDivorce.