Legal Memorandum: Emergency Jurisdiction Provision in IL

Issue: Under Illinois law, will a court decline to exercise jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act based on the petitioner’s conduct?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Emergency jurisdiction provision; Decline to exercise jurisdiction; Petitioner's conduct
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: 720 N.E.2d 1089; 709 N.E.2d 725; 604 N.E.2d 950; 623 N.E.2d 921; 185 Ill. 617
Cited Statutes: Section 4 of the Act, 750 ILCS 35/4(a)(3)(2); 750 ILCS 35/2(b); 750 ILCS 35/2(a); Section 9(a) of the UCCJA
Date: 09/01/2000

The emergency provision of Section 4 of the Act, 750 ILCS 35/4(a)(3)(2), provides that the  “emergency jurisdiction provision is meant solely to prevent irreparable and immediate harm to children, and . . . does not confer . . . authority to make a permanent custody determination.”  Gainey v. Gainey, 237 Ill. App. 3d 868, 871, 604 N.E.2d 950, 952 (3d Dist. 1992).

The UCCJA must be construed in a manner that serves its general purposes.  750 ILCS 35/2(b).  Those relevant general purposes are to:

1.         avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other states in matters of child custody . . .;

2.         promote co-operation with the courts of other states . . .;

3.         assure that litigation concerning the custody of a child takes place ordinarily in the state with which the child and his family have the closest connection and where significant evidence concerning his care, protection, training, and personal relationships is most readily available . . .;

4.         discourage continuing controversies over child custody;

. . . .

6.         avoid relitigation of custody decisions of other states in this State . . . ; [and]

7.         facilitate the enforcement of custody judgments of other states;

750 ILCS 35/2(a).  See also In re Marriage of Rizza, 237 Ill. App. 3d 83, 87, 603 N.E.2d 134, 138 (2d Dist. 1992) (“The purposes of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act are primarily to avoid jurisdictional competition and conflicts with other states, to protect the best interests […]

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