Custody Disputes Between States or Countries


Resolving custody disputes between parents who live in different jurisdictions is particularly complicated.  Before even getting to the dispute over where the child should live, the parties and courts must decide where the case is decided.  Fortunately federal guidance as to which state should hear a custody case was created in the form of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) a federal statute aimed at determining which state should have authority over a child custody case.  Nearly every state in the U.S. ( along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), except Massachusetts has adopted the UCCJEA by passing its own state law incorporating the language of the UCCJEA.  In Hawaii, the Hawaii Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is located in Hawaii Revised Statutes section 583A.

Cases related to a parent traveling (or moving, or fleeing) to another country after orders are made, are typically addressed under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  This is an especially complex area of law, often involving an intersection of state, federal, and international law.  In these types of cases, it is especially important to find an experienced custody attorney to assist you.

About Gavin K. Doi

Gavin, a founding partner of Doi/Luke, was born and reared in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, graduating from McKinley High School, and receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in Denver, Colorado. Previously, Gavin worked with the Child Support Enforcement Agency and the AmeriCorps Domestic Violence Clinic. An advocate of pro bono legal work, Gavin volunteers time with Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii and the Hawai’i State Bar Association. In 2013, Gavin co-authored the book Child Custody Litigation and Settlements (Aspatore Books/Thomson West), penning the section "Working with Your Client Towards a Successful Child Custody Case." Gavin is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association and the HSBA Family Law Section, and was presented with the 2002 Justice Award by the Hawaii State Bar Association, which honors one lawyer annually for their outstanding contribution to the ideals of justice. The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission honored Gavin in 2012 for his pro bono service to the community. Gavin has extensive experience in divorce, paternity, child custody, child support, restraining orders, and other family law matters, and has a Distinguished rating with Martindale-Hubble®/, and an Avvo rating of 10 out of 10. He can be e-mailed at: .

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