In the Interest of Madrone, 2012CO70 (November 27, 2012)

Families fragmented across state lines make child-custody determinations hard. In this case, a family brought their 4-year-old daughter to Colorado from Oregon. In less than 6 months, the family broke up, and the child eventually ended up out-of-state. The trial court found that based on the intent of the parents to indefinitely reside in Colorado, it had jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed because parental intent is not the proper test. Instead, the UCCJEA provides the exclusive jurisdictional basis for child-custody decisions. That framework starts with an analysis of “home state” jurisdiction. If no state has home state jurisdiction, there are 3 alternative tests for jurisdiction in Colorado: 1) “significant connection,” 2) “more appropriate forum,” or 3) “last resort.” Here, the trial court did not properly apply the UCCJEA, so the case was remanded to do so.


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