Experienced Florida Family Law Attorneys Dealing with Complex Jurisdiction and Venue Issues
Jurisdiction is a court's specific authority to make rulings regarding people and matters. Specifically, personal jurisdiction is a court's authority over a party to a proceeding based on the parties' personal connection with the State of Florida or their acquiescence to be subject its jurisdiction in the matter. Subject matter jurisdiction involves the Court's authority to adjudicate issues regarding the matter before it such as the dissolution proceeding, which requires that either party be a resident of Florida for six months prior to the filing date and that the marriage is irretrievably broken or one party has been adjudicated incompetent for a period of three years prior to the filing of the Petition.
Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA") the Court may exercise its jurisdiction to determine children's issues under certain circumstances. The UCCJEA has been adopted in every state of the United States as a uniform act for determining child issue jurisdictional disputes. In most circumstances, for Florida to exercise jurisdiction over children's issues, Florida must have been the "home state" of the child involved for a period of at least six months prior to filing of the Petition and no other state has continuing jurisdiction over said child pursuant to a prior action in the other state. For children less than six months of age, the "home state" is the place in which the minor child has been residing immediately preceding the action.
There may be circumstances where two states may contemporaneously have apparent jurisdiction based on one state's prior exercise and retention of jurisdiction and the other state being the new "home state" of the minor child. In such instances the earlier state may elect to relinquish its jurisdiction to the new state. The Courts may conduct contemporaneous proceedings and the judges may have discussions with each other to make this determination. There are instances where a state may take emergency jurisdiction of some child issues in order to protect the child from harm. Child jurisdictional issues may be complicated under the varying circumstances and claims which may arise.
Venue issues involve determination of which venue (county) may adjudicate a family law issue within the state of Florida. Generally, divorce actions are most appropriate in the county where both parties' last resided together as husband and wife. Paternity actions under current law may be brought forth in the county in which either the mother or the putative father reside. As with jurisdictional issues, there are sometimes disputes as to which county may be a more appropriate forum to consider family law matters and therefore issues and disputes may arise as to which county may be more convenient to present the case based on the overall circumstances. Modification actions are considered new actions and may be brought in a different county than the original decree under some circumstances.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan A. Zahler, P.A., we have vast experience litigating jurisdiction, venue, and UCCJEA issues and will provide our clientele with excellent representation regarding these matters.