FAMILY LAW: Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) jurisdiction, home state: Hearld v. Hearld (COA 2/13/2009)

Hearld v. Hearld
2009 WL 350713
Opinion by Judge Thompson; Judge Stumbo and Senior Judge Guidugli concurred.

The Court vacated and remanded an order awarding custody of three minor children to the mother.

The Court held that the family court lacked jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The prerequisite for the court to invoke jurisdiction under KRS 403.822 was not met, as Kentucky was not the home state of the children for six months prior to the commencement of the custody proceedings and moreover, there was no evidence to suggest that the children’s home state of North Carolina had declined to exercise jurisdiction. Further, the court did not have emergency jurisdiction under KRS 403.828(1), as the custodial parent’s pending deployment to Iraq and refusal to disclose the location of the children did not constitute mistreatment or abuse so as to invoke the court’s subject matter jurisdiction.

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