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November 2014 Archives

National Adoption Day

Bucks County will hold its National Adoption Day, tomorrow, November 21, 2014. The celebration begins at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the main courthouse in Doylestown, PA. The celebration is spearheaded by the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency as well as the Register of Wills and Orphans' Court. This year Pearl S. Buck International and Love the Children are being honored for their work in finding homes for children. A brief reception will follow the awards.

Family Law and Immigration

Family-based immigration is one of the more popular pathways to legal residence in the United States. It is important to understand how family law actions may affect immigration status. Marriage to a US citizen potentially creates an opportunity for a noncitizen to achieve residence. The marriage must first be valid under state law as with any other marriage, but also must pass the criteria of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Marriage fraud, marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining residence, is a serious concern. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) will make inquiries into whether there is a bona fide marriage. Additionally, permanent residence is not an option unless the parties have been married for at least two years.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) clarified an uniform approach to dealing with child custody matters nationwide. Since its inception in 1997, 49 states as well as the District of Columbia have adopted the Act. One of the goals achieved through the UCCJEA is clear guidance on who should exercise jurisdiction over a custody matter. The preferred method for establishing jurisdiction is based on the home state of the child. The homes state is defined as the state where the child had been living for at least six (6) months prior to the custody action or since birth if the child is less than six months old. If jurisdiction is not clear based on an analysis of the home state, the courts should then look to see where there are significant connections and substantial evidence relevant to the custody action. Significant connections is more than just mere presence in any state.

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