Sunday, December 03, 2006

Nebraska Supreme Court rules that Sarpy County District court retained jurisdiction over a child custody case even though the mother and the children had moved to Maryland and registered the Sarpy county dissolution decree there.Watson v. Watson, 272 Neb. 647 Filed December 1, 2006. No. S-05-1423. Parties divorced and later the wife won a contested motion to move with the three children to Maryland. The wife then registered the decree in Maryland. When Husband complained that Wife was not allowing visitation, Wife won motions in Maryland and Husband lost his contempt motion in Sarpy County District Court. Sarpy County District Court ruled it had lost jurisdiction to Maryland and in any event Maryland was a more convenient forum. Supreme Court reverses Sarpy County District Court. Holding: Jurisdiction remains in Sarpy county as it was the initial court to assert jurisdiction and one parent continued to reside in the state See Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act § 43-1239. Accord Shanoski v. Miller, 780 A.2d 275 (Me. 2001). Jurisdiction remained in the district court either until jurisdiction was lost under § 43-1239(a) or until the court declined to exercise its jurisdiction under § 43-1244 for the reason of an inconvenient forum.Since the Sarpy County District Court did not lose 43-1239 jurisdiction nor did it properly decline jurisdiction under 43-1244, the District Court erred in dismissing the Husband's contempt proceedings. Under § 43-1239 this jurisdiction would continue unless the district court determined that neither the children, nor the children and one parent, nor the children and a person acting as a parent had a significant connection with this state and that substantial evidence was no longer available in this state concerning the children's care, protection, training, and personal relationshipsExclusive and continuing jurisdiction could be lost only if the children, Jill, and Robert no longer resided in the state. See § 43-1239(a)(2). The district court erred in making such a determination because Robert continued to reside in Nebraska.A court with exclusive and continuing jurisdiction under the UCCJEA may decline to exercise its jurisdiction if it determines that it is "an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum." See § 43-1244(a). Although the district court concluded that the Maryland court was the "more appropriate and convenient forum," the district court failed to consider the relevant factors for relinquishing jurisdiction under § 43-1244.Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of this state shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors§ 43-1244(b). 43-1239 or that a Maryland court was a more convenient forum under § 43-1244.

No comments: