What is exclusive continuing jurisdiction?

Exclusive, continuing jurisdiction typically applies in custody cases, but also applies when other issues are present. Once the Florida court enters an order, it typically puts in a paragraph that states the court retains jurisdiction to modify or enforce the custody order. Florida Statute section 61.515 states that a court of this state which has made a child custody determination has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination until the following occur:

(a) A court of this state determines that 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; or

(b) A court of this state or a court of another state determines that the child, the child’s parent, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in this state.

This comes into play when a party moves to a new state with the children after a custody determination is made. If a party moves to another state with the children, and they have resided in that state for more than six months, then that party will have to seek to have jurisdiction transferred to the state they currently reside. Often this requires a joint telephone call with the judge in Florida and the judge in the new state. Jurisdiction can be complicated and confusing for the average lay person. If you believe you have a jurisdictional issue, contact your expert family law attorney to discuss your case further.