Missouri Divorce and Family Law Blog
No Jurisdiction to Modify Custody Decree under UCCJEA
Mother appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing her motion to modify a child custody order entered in the State of Illinois. Mother first asserts that her motion to modify sufficiently pleaded facts that, when taken as true, entitle her to relief. Specifically, Mother claims she pleaded facts sufficient to support her allegation that, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA), Missouri had jurisdiction over the child custody matter while Illinois did not. Ancillary to her first point, Mother also claims the trial court erred by considering an order of the Illinois court affirming its jurisdiction over the child custody matter. Mother finally argues the trial court erred in dismissing her motion to modify because there was no simultaneous proceeding in the Illinois court per Mo. Rev. Stat. Section 452.765 (2011) that would prevent the trial court from exercising jurisdiction.
JUDGMENT AFFIRMED. The trial court did not err in granting Father’s motion to dismiss or in considering the order of the Illinois court affirming its jurisdiction over the child custody issue. A Missouri court shall not modify a child custody determination made by a court of another state unless, first, the Missouri court has jurisdiction to make an initial determination of custody under subdivision (1) or (2) of Section 452.740.1 and either (1) the court of the other state determines it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction or Missouri would be a more convenient forum, or (2) a court of this state or a court of the other state determines that neither the child nor a parent resides in the other state.
The trial court properly considered and applied the statutory provisions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act as adopted by the Missouri legislature. In following this statutory mandate, the trial court appropriately recognized the limits of its authority to accept jurisdiction of the child custody matters, which are within the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of the Illinois courts. Additionally, Section 452.765 regarding simultaneous proceedings is not applicable to the facts of this case. The Court found no error in the trial court’s dismissal of Mother’s motion to modify the child custody order entered in the State of Illinois.
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