I recently handled a marital dissolution case in which my client had hightailed it while pregnant to another state. Her husband’s motion for temporary relief sought to have her return to South Carolina in an attempt to force her to bear their child in South Carolina–and thus insure South Carolina had subject matter jurisdiction to address custody.

While the family court can order a party to bring or return a child to South Carolina, it does not have authority to order a party to live in South Carolina. Since my client’s child had not been born yet, the family court could not order her to return. Her child will be born elsewhere and custody will be fought elsewhere.

South Carolina’s determination of paternity statute, S.C. Code § 63-17-10, et. seq, allows paternity actions to be brought prior to the child’s birth. S.C. Code § 63-17-10(D). Fathers in other states have attempted to use similar statutes to establish jurisdiction for child custody in the state where the child was conceived when the mother has left the jurisdiction prior to the child’s birth. So far, they have all failed.

The legal issue is whether a determination of paternity is a custody determination for purposes of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Under the UCCJEA, the home state of the child–which is the state of the child’s birth if the child is a newborn, has priority on jurisdiction for an initial custody determination. Under South Carolina’s version of the UCCJEA, home states is defined as “the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.” S.C. Code § 63-15-302 (7). It would appear to require the child’s birth to apply.

Under the UCCJEA, where the child has a home state, home state jurisdiction has priority in any initial child custody proceeding. S.C. Code § 63-3-330(A)(1). However, if one parent still resides in the state where custody was initially determined, that state has continuing jurisdiction to determine custody until it decides to relinquish jurisdiction. S.C. Code § 63-3-332. Thus, if a paternity determination is an initial custody determination, the state where paternity is determined–which can be the state of the child’s conception–can also determine custody if the child is subsequently born in another state. If it’s not, then that state cannot determine custody. Further, some fathers have tried to argue that an unborn child can have a “home state,” thus (in theory) enabling the parties’ last state of residence to determine child custody even if the mother moves prior to the child’s birth.

So far the arguments that paternity determinations qualify as custody determinations or that an unborn child has a “home state” have been uniformly rejected. See Gray v. Gray, 139 So.3d 802 (Al. Ct. App. 2013) (Alabama was not home state for UCCJEA jurisdiction where mother moved to Michigan prior to child’s birth); Arnold v. Price, 365 S.W.3d 455, 461 (Tex.App.2012) (concluding that a homestate determination could not be made at the commencement of a child-custody proceeding when the child was yet unborn and that the state in which the child was later born would become his home state at the time of his birth); B.B. v. A.B., 31 Misc.3d 608, 916 N.Y.S.2d 920 (Sup.Ct.2011) (determining that the home state of a child born in Minnesota after the mother decided not to return to New York after a visit to her childhood home in Minnesota was Minnesota and not New York, where the mother and father had resided as a married couple); Waltenburg v. Waltenburg, 270 S.W.3d 308, 318 (Tex.App.2008) (deciding under the Texas version of the UCCJEA that the UCCJEA “does not authorize jurisdiction over a child custody claim concerning a child before its birth”); In re Custody of Kalbes, 302 Wis.2d 215, 733 N.W.2d 648 (Ct.App.2007) (determining that Idaho did not have jurisdiction under the UCCJEA of a child who was not born at the time the Idaho action was instituted and who was later born in Wisconsin); see also In re Marriage of Tonnessen, 189 Ariz. 225, 227, 941 P.2d 237, 239 (Ct.App. 1997) (determining under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act [“UCCJA,” a precursor to the UCCJEA] that Arizona was the home state of a child born in Arizona and stating that “[t]he statute does not contemplate the in utero period of time in determining … home state; it contemplates a postnatal child”); and In re Marriage of Tonnessen, 937 P.2d 863 (Colo.Ct.App.1996) (concluding under the UCCJA that Arizona was the home state of the children born in Arizona after the institution of an action in Colorado).

The rational was best expressed in the Texas Waltenburg case:

[R]eading the UCCJEA to authorize jurisdiction over a custody matter concerning an unborn child would defeat the clear purpose underlying the legislature’s enactment of the UCCJEA — to prioritize home-state jurisdiction. Under such a reading, a party could file suit pre-birth under the UCCJEA provision authorizing jurisdiction when “no other court has jurisdiction,” and use the “simultaneous proceeding” provision to control, post-birth, whether the child’s home state can ever exercise that “priority” jurisdiction. We reject this reading of the UCCJEA.

The upshot is that a pregnant woman, even a married one, who does not wish to litigate child custody in the state where the father lives appears to have the unbridled right to move anywhere else and have child custody determined in the jurisdiction where she lives at the time of the child’s birth. The right to shop for jurisdiction while pregnant appears to be absolute.

In 2008 South Carolina went from the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The updated statute was largely an improvement. It includes limitation upon the exercise of “emergency jurisdiction” so that an emergency cannot be used to give a state permanent jurisdiction. It provided powerful enforcement remedies. It closed an obvious loophole in the modification provision by requiring the issuing state to relinquish jurisdiction if any party still lives in the issuing state [the UCCJA allowed the custodial parent’s home state to determine whether the issuing state still had significant connections to the minor child].

However the UCCJEA lacks any set notice provision for out-of-state litigants. The Federal statute addressing multi-state custody jurisdiction, the misnamed Parental Kidnaping Prevention Act (PKPA), states that “contestants” (defined as “a person, including a parent or grandparent, who claims a right to custody or visitation of a child”) are entitled to “reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard” before “a child custody or visitation determination is made.” 28 U.S. Code § 1738A(e). In implementing this “reasonable notice” requirement, the model UCCJA set a 30-day notice requirement (excluding emergency situations). The now-repealed section of South Carolina’s UCCJA dealing with notice, S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-792 (1985), set a 20-day requirement. Duckett v. Goforth, 374 S.C. 446, 649 S.E.2d 72, 80 (Ct.App. 2007). In contrast, South Carolina UCCJEA’s notice provisions, S.C. Code §§ 63-15-314 & 338, and the model statute, are silent on any set notice period.

Whether this omission was a feature or a bug is unclear. The PKPA anticipates, and the UCCJA created, a longer notice provision for out-of-state residents than would be required for in-state litigants. The UCCJEA’s omission of a set “reasonable notice” provision does not mean that the general notice provision for temporary hearings in South Carolina’s family court rules–five business days pursuant to Family Court Rule 21(a)–necessarily complies with the requirements of the PKPA. Earlier this week I litigated this issue, convincing a family court judge that nine-days notice of a temporary hearing to a Maryland defendant was not reasonable.

It is obviously more difficult for out-of-state litigants to obtain in-state counsel and prepare for in-state hearings than it is for a local litigant. What may be “reasonable notice” for a local litigant may not be reasonable for a foreign litigant. However, how much extra notice is “reasonable” for a foreign litigant may depend upon how “foreign” that litigant is. The notice that might be reasonable in a South Carolina custody dispute for a litigant in Savannah, Georgia might be a great deal less than the notice for a litigant in rural Africa or Australia.

Unfortunately, this is not an issue amenable to an appellate decision. It is most likely to arise in regards to temporary hearings. Any family court order interpreting this requirement as it regards temporary hearings would be moot by the time the case results in a final order. Thus interpretation and implementation of the PKPA’s “reasonable notice” provision is now determined by individual family court judges.

My conclusion: the lack of a set notice requirement in the UCCJEA is a bug–a bug it took me eight years to discover. Given the PKPA’s “reasonable notice” requirement the lack of any set notice provision in the UCCJEA is inexplicable.

Due to an increasingly mobile society, child custody litigation often moves to different states over a child’s minority. When both parents and the child no longer live in the state that issued the most recent child support order, or when the issuing state declines modification jurisdiction because the child has been absent from the state for a period of years, child custody jurisdiction generally moves to the state where the child now lives. The non-custodial parent must now litigate child custody in the other parent’s state. Often times such parents need to defend a modification case brought by the other parent. Other times such parents need to bring a child custody or visitation modification case in the other parent’s state of residence. A common fear is that by litigating child custody in the other parent’s state of residence, the non custodial parent opens him or herself up to child support jurisdiction in the other parent’s state.

This fear should be unfounded. The Uniform Child Support Enforcement and Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA) contains a provision that, “A party to a child custody proceeding, including a modification proceeding, or a petitioner or respondent in a proceeding to enforce or register a child custody determination, is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this state for another proceeding or purpose solely by reason of having participated, or of having been physically present for the purpose of participating, in the proceeding.” In South Carolina that provision is contained in S.C. Code § 63-15-316 (A). However times when I have had to locate a similar provision in other states’ UCCJEA, that provision has always existed within that state’s law.

A United States Supreme Court decision, Kulko v. Superior Court of California, 436 U.S. 84, 91 (1978), shows that jurisdiction can exist for child custody without it also existing for child support. Yet parents still worry that by appearing in a child custody proceeding outside of their state of residence they open themselves up to child support jurisdiction in that same state. Even experienced family court attorneys have been known to incorrectly advise clients of this risk. However, under the UCCJEA, a parent is entitled to defend or bring a child custody proceeding in the other parent’s state of residence without opening him or herself up to defending child support there too.

Multi-state child custody actions often get filed where it is unclear if, and how, the state where the action is filed has subject matter jurisdiction to determine child custody.  In defending such actions the reflexive response is to file a motion to dismiss due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), SCRCP.

However, typically, such defective child custody pleadings lack the required verification of basic facts regarding the child’s residence the past five years.  S.C. Code § 63-15-346(A) of South Carolina’s version of the Uniform Interstate Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) lists information that is required to be submitted in an affidavit or in the initial pleading:

(A) Subject to local law providing for the confidentiality of procedures, addresses, and other identifying information, in a child custody proceeding, each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child’s present address or whereabouts, the places where the child has lived during the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period.  The pleading or affidavit must state whether the party:

(1) has participated, as a party or witness or in any other capacity, in any other proceeding concerning the custody of or visitation with the child and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the date of the child custody determination, if any;

(2) knows of any proceeding that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings for enforcement and proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;  and

(3) knows the names and addresses of any person not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of those persons.

Since resolution of subject matter jurisdiction for child custody often turns on where the parties and the child have been living the past few years, the information required by § 63-15-346(A) is vital to a subject matter jurisdiction analysis.  While one could file a motion to dismiss without the Plaintiff first filing the required pleading or affidavit, doing so allows the Plaintiff the first opportunity to raise factual problems in the Defendant’s submission.  That is because when filing a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction the Defendant will be required to file an affidavit and supporting evidence stating the basis upon which he or she claims jurisdiction is improper.  Rule 6(d), SCRCP.  If one doesn’t demand the § 63-15-346(A) filing before one files a motion to dismiss, one grants the Plaintiff the first opportunity to challenge the other party’s factual accuracy regarding the child’s and parties’ residential history.

Thus, rather than filing a motion to dismiss, the Defendant may file a motion to stay the proceedings until the Plaintiff files the required pleading or affidavit.  § 63-15-346(B) specifically authorizes this:

(B) If the information required by subsection (A) is not furnished, the court, upon motion of a party or its own motion, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished.

Rather than guess at the Plaintiff’s basis for claiming subject matter jurisdiction is proper, one can file a § 63-15-346(B) motion and demand this information before filing a 12(b)(1) motion.  Doing so gives the Defendant the procedural advantage of learning the basis of the Plaintiff’s claim of jurisdiction before revealing why the Defendant believes such jurisdiction is improper.

In the March 16, 2012 opinion in Anthony H. v. Matthew G.,397 S.C. 447, 725 S.E.2d 132 (Ct. App. 2012) the Court of Appeals held that the state and federal statutes for determining child custody jurisdiction in multi-state disputes are applicable to adoption cases that require a termination of parental rights (TPR).  Because the South Carolina adoption jurisdiction statute, S.C. Code. § 63-9-40(A), requires adoption proceedings be brought in the county where the petitioner or the child resides, it had been unclear whether the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) applied to adoption proceedings.  Anthony H. indicates that they do if a TRP is required.

The fact pattern of Anthony H. is one that frequently occurs.  Mother and Father had a final custody order in Georgia.  Mother then moved to South Carolina with Stepfather, who wanted to adopt the child at issue.  However, because Father had not consented to the adoption, Mother and Stepfather needed to terminate Father’s parental rights before the adoption could take place.  They filed the TPR/adoption action in South Carolina.  Father, who still resided in Georgia, then filed a custody modification action in Georgia and, shortly before the South Carolina case went to trial, moved to dismiss the South Carolina action arguing Georgia still had jurisdiction.  The South Carolina court denied his motion to dismiss and, after trial, issued an order terminating Father’s parental rights and authorizing the adoption.  Father appealed.

As the Court of Appeals noted, the PKPA and UCCJEA are explicitly applicable to termination of parental rights proceedings. 28 U.S.C.A. § 1738A(e); S.C. Code § 63-15-302(4).  The Court next noted that “a nonconsensual adoption action requires a bifurcated proceeding since an adoption may not proceed without first obtaining a termination of parental rights.”  Since the termination of parental rights was required before the adoption could take place, the Court determined that the PKPA and UCCJEA applied to this case.

Since Father still lived in Georgia and Georgia had not declined jurisdiction over child custody, the Court of Appeals further found that Georgia, that state has had issued the initial custody order, had exclusive jurisdiction over any termination of parental rights action.   Finding that the South Carolina had improperly assumed jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals vacated the family court’s order terminating Father’s parental rights and granting Stepfather’s petition for adoption.

I often receive calls from couples who have moved to South Carolina and are hoping for the stepfather to adopt a child.  If there is a custody order from another state and the father still lives in that state, I have advised such clients that they need to either obtain the father’s consent, get the issuing state to decline jurisdiction, or have the issuing state terminate the father’s parental rights before I can help them.  Anthony H. indicates such advice is correct and demonstrates the folly of ignoring the PKPA and UCCJEA when trying to terminate a non-resident’s parental rights.

When an opposing party lives or has assets in South Carolina, it can often be more effective to enforce a foreign state’s domestic relations order in South Carolina than to enforce it in the state where it was issued.  If the party against whom the order is being enforced no longer lives in the issuing state, that party–realizing the issuing state has little power over him or her–might well ignore enforcement attempts in that state.  Thus, in a mobile society, a significant part of family law practice involves enforcing the domestic relations orders of other states.

Almost always these enforcement issues fall into one of three broad categories: 1) obtaining control of a child–custody and visitation; 2) obtaining support obligations–child support and alimony; and 3) obtaining compliance with marital property and debt division.  One might think that family court is the proper place to enforce all foreign domestic relations orders. In South Carolina, that’s not necessarily the case.

“The family court is a statutory court created by the legislature and, therefore, is of limited jurisdiction… Its jurisdiction is limited to that expressly or by necessary implication conferred by statute.”  In re, Shaquille O’Neal B., 385 S.C. 243, 684 S.E.2d 549, 552, n. 2 (2009).  The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) has specific procedures to enforce foreign state’s custody and visitation orders.  S.C. Code § 63-15-350, et seq.  The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) has specific procedures to enforce foreign state’s child support and alimony orders. S.C. Code § 63-17-3610, et seq.  Thus, it’s clear that foreign orders involving child custody and visitation and child support and alimony can be enforced in family court.

However, domestic relations orders that divide spouses’ assets and debts result in judgement.  There is a South Carolina statute detailing how to register foreign judgments for enforcement, the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. S.C. Code § 15-35-900, et seq.  That statute allows foreign judgments to be filed with a county clerk of court and docketed and indexed in the same manner as a South Carolina judgment. S.C. Code § 15-35-920.  Nowhere is this act is there any indication that foreign domestic relations judgments that have been registered may be enforced in the family court.

There are no reported South Carolina cases discussing whether foreign orders that divide marital property and debt can be enforced in the family court.  However, given that family court requires statutory authority, I suspect, counterintuitive as it may appear, that only the circuit court can enforce such foreign orders.

 

At least a few times each month I receive a phone call or email from someone involved in a multi-state child custody case.  Since I deliberately restrict my practice to South Carolina, generally these folks get referred elsewhere.  However in communicating with these multi-state custody litigants, I perceive that they are frequently receiving inaccurate information, often the same inaccurate information, regarding jurisdiction–the power of a court in a particular state to decide custody.

Misconception one: “home state” determines custody

The most common misconception is that “home state” determines jurisdiction.  The UCCJEA [Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act] defines “home state” as:

the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.

S.C. Code § 63-15-302(7) [all references to the UCCJEA in this blog will be to the South Carolina version].

“Home state,” basically the last place the child lived for a consecutive six-month period, is vital to deciding jurisdiction in an initial case.  However, the “home state” only decides jurisdiction in an initial custody determination and only if the child, a parent, or a person acting as a parent continues to live in the home state.

The UCCJEA sets four grounds for authorizing jurisdiction with each of the succeeding grounds having lower priority (that is, one only goes to the next ground if no state has jurisdiction under the previous ground).  Those grounds are:

(1) this State is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this State, but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this State;

(2) a court of another state does not have jurisdiction under item (1), or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this State is the more appropriate forum under Section 63-15-342 or 63-15-344, and:

(a) the child and the child’s parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this State other than mere physical presence; and

(b) substantial evidence is available in this State concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships;

(3) all courts, having jurisdiction under item (1) or (2), have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this State is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under Section 63-15-342 or 63-15-344; or

(4) no court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in item (1), (2), or (3).

S.C. Code § 63-15-330.

Note that “home state” is only a basis for jurisdiction if the child, a parent, or a person acting as a parent continues to live in the home state.  If none of these folks continue to live in the home state, there is no home state jurisdiction.  For example, if California is a child’s “home state” but mother and child move to Tennessee and father moves to Oregon, California would not have jurisdiction to decide custody.

Misconception two: “home state” always has priority in jurisdiction

While home state jurisdiction, if it exists, has priority in initial custody determinations, it is of greatly diminished importance in modification actions.  A state retains exclusive jurisdiction to modify its own custody order so long as it has jurisdiction under any of the tests for an initial custody case and so long as the child, a parent, or a person acting as a parent remains in the issuing state. S.C. Code § 63-15-332.  Thus, a child could have left the issuing state years ago but so long as the other parent remains in the issuing state and so long as there is substantial evidence concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships in the issuing state, that state will retain continuing exclusive jurisdiction to modify child custody, even if it stopped being the home state years ago.

Misconception three: the child’s “home state” never needs the issuing state’s permission to modify custody

Assuming that the child, a parent, or a person acting as a parent remains in the issuing state, another state can only modify custody if the issuing state’s court “determines that neither the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not have a significant connection with this State and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this State concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.” S.C. Code § 63-15-332(A)(1).

Misconception four: one always needs the issuing state’s permission to modify custody

If the child, the child’s parents, or any person acting as a parent does not presently reside in the issuing state, another state does not need the issuing state’s permission to modify its custody order.  S.C. Code § 63-15-332(A)(2).

Misconception five: a state needs to be the “home state” to modify another state’s custody order

If the child’s home state no longer has the ability to modify custody–because neither the child, a parent, or a person acting as a parent remains in the home state–any state that meets the initial jurisdictional requirements can modify custody.  Often such jurisdiction may exist simply because the child and custodial parent are physically present in a new state and the other parent lives in a state in which there is not substantial evidence concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.  For example, if there is a custody order in California and mother and child move to Tennessee and father moves to Oregon, Tennessee would probably immediately have jurisdiction to modify the California custody order, and it wouldn’t even need California’s permission to do so.

Misconception six: a parent with physical possession of a child always needs to obey a foreign state’s custody order

When a foreign state issues a custody order that a parent believes is not valid, that parent is not required to obey that order.  Instead, that parent may require the other party to enforce that order through the UCCJEA’s registration and enforcement mechanisms.

There are registration and enforcement mechanisms within the UCCJEA for one state to enforce another state’s custody order.  In South Carolina, these mechanisms are contained within code sections 63-15-350 through 382.  Among these enforcement mechanisms are provisions allowing the court to issue warrants to take physical custody of a child and the authorizing the assistance of law enforcement to retrieve the child.

Under S.C. Code § 63-15-354 (A) the courts are directed to enforce another state’s custody order if that order issued in “substantial conformity” with the UCCJEA.  However, when another state’s custody order is issued without this “substantial conformity,” a state is under no obligation to obey or enforce the foreign order.

The UCCJEA contains provisions authorizing the imposition of fees and costs, “including costs, communication expenses, attorney’s fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses, and childcare during the course of the proceedings.” S.C. Code § 63-15-372.  Thus, a parent who simply refuses to comply with a foreign state’s custody order without good cause opens him or herself up to a substantial fee award.  However, when the issuing state clearly lacked authority to issue a custody order, there is nothing inappropriate about requiring compliance with the registration and enforcement provisions of the UCCJEA before complying with the foreign custody order.

Many attorneys who “practice” family law do so as a small part of their overall practice and, as family law gets increasingly complex, attorneys who aren’t fully versed in multi-state custody cases shouldn’t be handling such cases.  The question I tell multi-state custody litigants to ask prospective attorneys is “How does the UCCJEA apply to my case?”  If the answer is “huh,” I suggest these litigants continue searching.

For further reading, please see: How is Jurisdiction Determined in a Multi-State Child Custody Case?

The July 13, 2009 Court of Appeals decision in Brookshire v. Blackwell, 384 S.C. 333, 682 S.E.2d 295 (Ct.App. 2009) clarifies personal and subject matter jurisdiction analysis as it regards multi-state adoption action.

In this case the Brookshires, South Carolina residents, were awarded custody of the Blackwells’ children by the Alabama Courts.  The Brookshires then filed an adoption action in South Carolina and the mother, Ms. Blackwell (now Ms. Chambers), tried to have the South Carolina action dismissed due to this state’s alleged lack of personal jurisdiction over her.  The family court found that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the mother and dismissed the Brookshires’ adoption action.  They appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court but adopted a different reasoning.  It found that the UCCJA (now the UCCJEA [S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-300 et seq.) jurisdictional analysis, rather than a personal jurisdiction minimum contacts analysis, applied to contested multi-state adoption actions.  Because there was a current custody order from Alabama (the order giving the Brookshires custody) and because mother remained an Alabama resident, Alabama needed to decline jurisdiction before the South Carolina court could decide custody.  The Court of Appeals further held that, absent mother’s consent, an action to terminate mother’s parental rights was a necessary precondition for any adoption, and that such an action was in the nature of a custody proceeding.

Thus jurisdiction for contested adoption proceedings against non residents do not require a showing of personal jurisdiction over the non resident but do require jurisdiction under the UCCJEA and PKPA [28 U.S.C. § 1738A].

Put Mr. Forman’s experience, knowledge, and dedication to your service for any of your South Carolina family law needs.

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