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What is the "Full Faith and Credit" child custody law?

After a divorce, it is common for people to relocate to another state. Such relocation can go smoothly if the separated couple does not have a child. However, if they have a child, the court must approve the relocation. The court will also order visitation schedules, which both parents must follow. Many parents, however, ignore the original court order because they feel that they are immune to the laws of that state because they now reside in another state. However, that is a major mistake.

Parents should understand that such disregard for court orders is not only a crime according to the original's state laws but it is also a federal crime. Washington residents may not be aware that that law is known as the "Full Faith and Credit" for child custody determinations and is mentioned under Title 28 Section 1738A of United States Codes.

According to the statute, all states are required to recognize and enforce child custody orders from other states. For example, if a Washington court awards joint custody of a child from a particular state to a parent who lives in Washington and to the other parent who lives in Florida, the Florida courts, as well as all other states, must acknowledge the child custody order that was issued by the Washington State court.

The "Full Faith and Credit" law applies to all children under 18 years and all temporary and permanent orders as well as any modifications that are made to that initial order by the "home state" court. According to the federal definition, the "home state" is where the child lived with either or both parents for at least six consecutive months prior to the child custody determination. In the event that the child is less than six months old, the "home state" is where the child lived since birth with either or both parents.

Unfortunately, despite state and federal laws, many parents in Washington State, as well as elsewhere, experience a number of difficulties when it comes to compliance with child custody orders. Such parents should know that in the event of any violation, they can take action by invoking the "Full Faith and Credit" child custody law. However, legal actions across state borders may not always be simple and; therefore, parents may benefit greatly if they choose to consult an experienced family law attorney.

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