Divorce Jurisdiction

In family law, disputes often arise about where a divorce or child custody case should be heard. Laws governing divorce and child custody vary in different states and different countries, and these differences can have dramatic effects on the outcome of certain cases.

The attorneys of Maddox & Gerock, P.C. have a deep understanding of interstate and international jurisdiction issues and take such issues into consideration in every case we litigate.

Divorce Jurisdiction

To obtain a divorce in Virginia one of the two spouses must have been both a bona fide resident of and been domiciled in Virginia for 6 months before filing suit. In other words, Virginia laws discourage "forum shopping" where individuals attempt to use Virginia's divorce laws to their advantage.

Lawyers have many terms they use when dealing with jurisdictional matters. It is typical to make arguments about a "home state," a "significant connection," a "temporary emergency," a "habitual residence," and a "more appropriate forum" when multiple states or foreign nations are involved.

Child Custody Jurisdiction

Frequently, parents live in separate states when attempting to arrange for child custody and visitation. There are several laws, including the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), that prevent people from engaging in child custody proceedings in two different states.

Contact Us

Because of the complexity of jurisdictional issues, we recommend that people with further questions contact the lawyers of our firm and set up an appointment to discuss them in person. For further information about a variety of legal topics please visit our E-Newsletter , our Web Blog our Family Law Information Center , or our  Child Custody & Visitation Practice Center .