An Order to Show Cause or Trial is scheduled by the court in which the matter is filed. Often, the hearing will be set at least two months away. Many courts require the parties to attend Conciliation Court prior to any hearing on custody: the date of Conciliation Court must be scheduled when the Order to Show Cause is filed. (If you are filing in Los Angeles, the client may attend Conciliation Court at any courthouse, not just the one in the district where the action was filed.)
UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION ACT
These are the purposes of the UCCJA:
(a) To avoid jurisdiction custody conflicts between states.
(b) To promote cooperation between different states.
(c) To provide for litigation to take place in the state with the "closest connection" to the child.
(d) To discourage continuing controversy by encouraging binding decisions.
(e) To penalize parents for "abductions and other unilateral removals of children."
The UCCJA applies to custody and visitation and includes juvenile dependency, guardianship, and stepparent adoption cases. It has been adopted in every state and in the District of Columbia, but not in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Because it is a uniform act, state court interpretations may be cited as the authority. The provisions of the UCCJA apply in international custody disputes, even though foreign jurisdiction does not follow the UCCJA.
The UCCJA maintains that the child's home state or "recent home state" (the home state if not for a recent abduction) is the preferred forum to determine custody. Thus, the state can assume jurisdiction if it is now, or if it has been within six months prior to the commencement of proceedings, the child's home state.
A court may exercise jurisdiction in the following circumstances: