C.R.S. § 14-13-201
This section is similar to former § 14-13-104 as it existed prior to 2000.
This section provides mandatory jurisdictional rules for the original child custody proceeding. It generally continues the provisions of the UCCJA § 3. However, there have been a number of changes to the jurisdictional bases.
1. Home State Jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the home State has been prioritized over other jurisdictional bases. Section 3 of the UCCJA provided four independent and concurrent bases of jurisdiction. The PKPA provides that full faith and credit can only be given to an initial custody determination of a "significant connection" State when there is no home State. This Act prioritizes home state jurisdiction in the same manner as the PKPA thereby eliminating any potential conflict between the two acts.
The six-month extended home state provision of subsection (1)(a) has been modified slightly from the UCCJA. The UCCJA provided that home state jurisdiction continued for six months when the child had been removed by a person seeking the child's custody or for other reasons and a parent or a person acting as a parent continues to reside in the home State. Under this Act, it is no longer necessary to determine why the child has been removed. The only inquiry relates to the status of the person left behind. This change provides a slightly more refined home state standard than the UCCJA or the PKPA, which also requires a determination that the child has been removed "by a contestant or for other reasons." The scope of the PKPA's provision is theoretically narrower than this Act. However, the phrase "or for other reasons" covers most fact situations where the child is not in the home State and, therefore, the difference has no substantive effect.
In another sense, the six-month extended home state jurisdiction provision is this Act is narrower than the comparable provision in the PKPA. The PKPA's definition of extended home State is more expansive because it applies whenever a "contestant" remains in the home State. That class of individuals has been eliminated in this Act. This Act retains the original UCCJA classification of "parent or person acting as parent" to define who must remain for a State to exercise the six-month extended home state jurisdiction. This eliminates the undesirable jurisdictional determinations which would occur as a result of differing state substantive laws on visitation involving grandparents and others. For example, if State A's law provided that grandparents could obtain visitation with a child after the death of one of the parents, then the grandparents, who would be considered "contestants" under the PKPA, could file a proceeding within six months after the remaining parent moved and have the case heard in State A. However, if State A did not provide that grandparents could seek visitation under such circumstances, the grandparents would not be considered "contestants" and State B where the child acquired a new home State would provide the only forum. This Act bases jurisdiction on the parent and child or person acting as a parent and child relationship without regard to grandparents or other potential seekers of custody or visitation. There is no conflict with the broader provision of the PKPA. The PKPA in § (c)(1) authorizes States to narrow the scope of their jurisdiction.
2. Significant connection jurisdiction. This jurisdictional basis has been amended in four particulars from the UCCJA. First, the "best interest" language of the UCCJA has been eliminated. This phrase tended to create confusion between the jurisdictional issue and the substantive custody determination. Since the language was not necessary for the jurisdictional issue, it has been removed.
Second, the UCCJA based jurisdiction on the presence of a significant connection between the child and the child's parents or the child and at least one contestant. This Act requires that the significant connections be between the child, the child's parents or the child and a person acting as a parent.
Third, a significant connection State may assume jurisdiction only when there is no home State or when the home State decides that the significant connection State would be a more appropriate forum under Sectionor . Fourth, the determination of significant connections has been changed to eliminate the language of "present or future care." The jurisdictional determination should be made by determining whether there is sufficient evidence in the State for the court to make an informed custody determination. That evidence might relate to the past as well as to the "present or future."
Emergency jurisdiction has been moved to a separate section. This is to make it clear that the power to protect a child in crisis does not include the power to enter a permanent order for that child except as provided by that section.
Paragraph (1)(c) provides for jurisdiction when all States with jurisdiction under paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) determine that this State is a more appropriate forum. The determination would have to be made by all States with jurisdiction under subsection (1)(a) and (b). Jurisdiction would not exist under this paragraph because the home State determined it is a more appropriate place to hear the case if there is another State that could exercise significant connection jurisdiction under subsection (1)(b).
Paragraph (1)(d) retains the concept of jurisdiction by necessity as found in the UCCJA and in the PKPA. This default jurisdiction only occurs if no other State would have jurisdiction under subsections (1)(a) through (1)(c).
Subsections (2) and (3) clearly State the relationship between jurisdiction under this Act and other forms of jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction over, or the physical presence of, a parent or the child is neither necessary nor required under this Act. In other words neither minimum contacts nor service within the State is required for the court to have jurisdiction to make a custody determination. Further, the presence of minimum contacts or service within the State does not confer jurisdiction to make a custody determination. Subject to Section, satisfaction of the requirements of subsection (1) is mandatory.
The requirements of this section, plus the notice and hearing provisions of the Act, are all that is necessary to satisfy due process. This Act, like the UCCJA and the PKPA is based on Justice Frankfurter's concurrence in May v. Anderson, 345 U.S. 528 (1953). As pointed out by Professor Bodenheimer, the reporter for the UCCJA, no "workable interstate custody law could be built around [Justice] Burton's plurality opinion ... ." Bridgette Bodenheimer, The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act: A Legislative Remedy for Children Caught in the Conflict of Laws, 22 Vand.L.Rev. 1207,1233 (1969). It should also be noted that since jurisdiction to make a child custody determination is subject matter jurisdiction, an agreement of the parties to confer jurisdiction on a court that would not otherwise have jurisdiction under this Act is ineffective.