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Fam. Code, § 3421, subd. (a), confers jurisdiction on California only if any of the following are true: (1) California is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from the state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in the state; (2) a court of another state does not have jurisdiction under § 3421, subd. (a)(1), or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the grounds that California is the more appropriate forum under Fam. Code, §§ 3427 or 3428, and both of the following are true: (A) the child and his or her parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with California other than mere physical presence; (B) substantial evidence is available in California concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships; (3) all courts having jurisdiction under Fam. Code, § 3421, subd. (a)(1) or (2), have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that California is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody under Fam. Code, §§ 3427 or 3428; (4) no court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in Fam. Code, § 3421, subd. (a)(1), (2), or (3).
A wife filed a petition for child custody and support, including a request for child abduction prevention orders. Her husband filed a motion to quash jurisdiction. The wife was a legal resident of the U.S., while the husband was a U.S. citizen. According to the wife, the husband had abandoned the wife and their child in India. The husband had initiated divorce and custody proceedings in India. The trial court granted the husband's motion to quash, concluding that it did not have jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Fam. Code, § 3400 et seq.).
Does California have jurisdiction under the UCCJEA?
The court concluded that California had jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The husband could not take the child to India, file a premature custody petition in that country, and then use the time the child remained in India pending resolution of the husband's petition to meet the six-month UCCJEA home state period, either in the Indian custody proceeding or as a defense to the wife's competing custody proceeding in California. India was not the home state of the child under the UCCJEA when the wife filed her petition. There was no home state jurisdiction when the wife filed her petition. California could exercise jurisdiction pursuant to Fam. Code, § 3421, subd. (a)(2), because the evidence established the wife's significant connection with California beyond mere physical presence, and substantial evidence was available in California concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships.