Custody Orders From Other States

I recently had a case where the Mother lived in Illinois. The Father took the child and absconded to Florida and wouldn't tell her where the child was located. The Mother petitioned the Court in Illinois for an emergency pick up order and was successful. The order directed law enforcement officers to take the child into their possession and deliver the child to the mother. The question is, what can she do with that order here in Florida?

Unfortunately, not much without a court in Florida intervening. When she contacted the sheriff's office in Florida, they told her they would not honor the Illinois order. It needed to be registered and enforced by a judge here in Florida. This can be a very frustrating and scary procedure when your child has been kidnapped and you do not know where he or she is located. If you are faced with this situation, my first advice to you is to get certified copies of the out of state order immediately. A Florida family law court will not do anything unless they see that you have a certified copy of the order. A certified copy can be obtained from the clerk of court in the county where the order was entered. The next thing I would recommend doing is contacting your expert divorce attorney here in Florida.

The procedure for getting the out of state custody order enforced in Florida are very complicated and involve complex issues of jurisdiction. The procedure is governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. In general, the court in Florida is supposed to give full faith and credit to the out of state custody order and shall enforce it if it was entered in compliance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Typically this happens on an emergency basis and you will probably have a hearing set within a day or two after a motion is filed. So once you get certified copies of the order and contact your expert family law attorney, the next step would probably be to book a plane ticket to Florida so that you will be present for the hearing that will likely be scheduled. The court will probably order the child to be present at the hearing as well. At the hearing, the court could potentially communicate with the judge in the other state where the custody order was entered. Often times, it helps to have a lawyer in both states that can navigate each states laws. If the court finds that the order was entered in compliance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, then it is supposed to enforce the child custody order and grant the relief requested. Because this is a complex area of law, it's imperative that you have an attorney to represent you and help navigate the procedure.

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