The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (known as the “UCCJEA”) is the body of law that provides Florida courts with authority to rule on issues of child custody. In virtually every family law proceeding that involves child custody–including divorce, paternity, and relocation–each party is required to file an affidavit that contains certain information and demonstrates to the court that it has jurisdiction over the child. This UCCJEA affidavit must include the following information:
- The current address of the child;
- Each address at which the child has lived during the past five years;
- The names and current addresses of each person with whom the child has lived during the past five years;
- Whether the litigant has participated in any other custody proceeding involving the child (and, if so, information identifying the proceeding);
- Whether the litigant knows of any proceeding (including proceedings for enforcement, domestic violence, termination of parental rights, and adoptions) that may affect the outcome of the current case (and if so, information identifying that proceeding); and
- Whether the litigant knows of any person who (i) is not a party of the current proceedings and (ii) has custody of the child or claims to have custody rights (and information identifying any such person).
Additionally, the litigant is required to inform the court if he or she learns of any other Florida or out-of-state action that is filed which may affect the outcome of the current proceeding.
One last note: A court may not enter a final judgment if UCCJEA affidavits are not filed. Make sure to consult with a family law attorney if you have questions about this crucial step.