Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

What is the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act?

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The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act is a national act that was originally created to prevent conflicts between states and varying jurisdictions within them when dealing with the custody of a child. In today's blog, your Western Pennsylvania Child Custody lawyers discuss some specifics about the Act and provide details on how it can impact you.

The main goal of this statute was to deter parents from taking their children away from the other parent for the purpose of maintaining custody. For example, if one parent removed your child and took them to Ohio without your consent, all the proceedings regarding custody would take place in the child's home state of Pennsylvania. This statute applies to all custody issues, not solely issues or disputes between parents.

The PKPA allowed for national protection for custody related matters and differs from the UCCJA. The PKPA was intended to fill gaps from state-to-state when interpretations of their state created UCCJA differed or conflicted. Many of the provisions in the PKPA are similar to UCCJA but the PKPA does preempt the UCCJEA under federal law, meaning the PKPA will be the applicable law over what is stated in the UCCJEA.

The PKPA prohibits jurisdictional issues between states, meaning if your child's home state is Pennsylvania, then Pennsylvania will have jurisdiction over your custody dispute, regardless of the current location of your child. The PKPA also limits states from modifying other state's custody orders. This allows the home state to keep jurisdiction and court orders from outside states to remain in effect and be enforceable. It is also impossible to have concurrent jurisdiction between two states under the PKPA. Therefore, if your child's home state is Pennsylvania, there is no possibility of both Pennsylvania and Ohio governing a custody dispute.

If your child has been removed from their home state by the other parent, it is advisable that you seek legal help immediately. Be sure to take steps to protect the best interest of your child. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our Allegheny County child custody lawyers, contact us today.

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