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Legal Statutes: Pennsylvania

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Pennsylvania Statutes

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Subchapter B. Jurisdiction

back to top5421. Initial child custody jurisdiction

(a) General rule.--Except as otherwise provided in section 5424 (relating to temporary emergency jurisdiction), a court of this Commonwealth has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:

(1) this Commonwealth 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 this Commonwealth but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this Commonwealth;

(2) a court of another state does not have jurisdiction under paragraph (1) or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this Commonwealth is the more appropriate forum under section 5427 (relating to inconvenient forum) or 5428 (relating to jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct) and:

(i) the child and the child's parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this Commonwealth other than mere physical presence; and

(ii) substantial evidence is available in this Commonwealth concerning the child's care, protection, training and personal relationships;

(3) all courts having jurisdiction under paragraph (1) or (2) have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this Commonwealth is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under section 5427 or 5428; or

(4) no court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in paragraph (1), (2) or (3).

(b) Exclusive jurisdictional basis.--Subsection (a) is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child custody determination by a court of this Commonwealth.

(c) Physical presence and personal jurisdiction unnecessary.--Physical presence of or personal jurisdiction over a party or a child is not necessary or sufficient to make a child custody determination.
2004, June 15, P.L. 236, No. 39, § 3, effective Aug. 16, 2004.