Thanks to Jim Ryan for sending me a Court of Appeals decision released recently. Given the paucity of published cases dealing with the UCCJEA and the increased mobility of parents these days, I'd like to see this decision published.
Huffaker v Huffaker was a child custody dispute involving grandparents with a guardianship in Wayne County and parents who divorced in Utah after the birth of their child in Utah. The case presented the Court of Appeals (COA) with a unique opportunity to explain how to determine which state has subject matter jurisdiction to make the initial child custody determination for an infant who had not resided in the state of birth for 6 months. This is a case that--unfortunately--may mirror many divorce and/or paternity cases that Michigan family lawyers are seeing these days.
In Huffaker v Huffaker, the paternal grandparents in Michigan sought to maintain custody of their grandchild. The child was born in Utah to married parents followed by a great deal of shift in location of the baby. Some of that involved self-help, including a snatch-back by Father and Grandfather. Eventually the parents were divorced in Utah--but the infant still remained in Michigan with the grandparents, who had guardianship.
Kudos to Mark Cobb of Southfield, Michigan for his fine work on this case. This case belongs in every family lawyer's research files. The COA panel's explication of the intricacies of the UCCJEA is just excellent. [The panel was J. Saad, J. Sawyer, J. Janson]
Michigan's UCCJEA statutes may be found here: MCL 722.1101 et seq. Download MI
Note: All but one of the fifty states has enacted the UCCJEA. Massachusetts still operates under the UCCJA. Download Mauccja