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The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act

The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) is a federal law that was passed in order to ensure consistency in interstate custody disputes. It also was designed to prevent parents from kidnapping their own children and taking them to other states for the purposes of obtaining a more favorable custody determination. More specifically, the PKPA establishes the “home state” of the child as the state with priority jurisdiction. Plus, the PKPA provides for recognition and enforcement of out-of-state custody orders, and severely restricts the ability of courts to modify these orders. So long as the home state maintains jurisdiction over the child and the child or another party continues to be a resident of the state, the other state’s court cannot modify the custody order.

The PKPA is different from the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA), which many states now have adopted in order to govern interstate child custody disputes. It was designed to fill the gaps in interstate child custody cases when states had not yet adopted the UCCJA or passed differing or conflicting versions of the UCCJA. However, the PKPA, as a federal law, preempts the UCCJA in those states that have passed it as state law, under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. This means that even if a custody order can be modified under the UCCJA, modification may not be allowable under the PKPA. There is no provision for concurrent jurisdiction by more than one state under the PKPA.

No matter what your situation, you will need a strong advocate on your side who knows how to achieve your objectives, particularly when there is an interstate component involved. Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.

Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.