Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 20. Domestic Relations
Chapter 7.1. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
9/20/2021

§ 20-146.18. Inconvenient forum.

A. A court of this Commonwealth that has jurisdiction under this act to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum. The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon the motion of a party, the court's own motion, or request of another court.

B. Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of this Commonwealth shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to present evidence and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

1. Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;

2. The length of time the child has resided outside this Commonwealth;

3. The distance between the court in this Commonwealth and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;

4. The relative financial circumstances of the parties;

5. Any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;

6. The nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including testimony of the child;

7. The ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and

8. The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the pending litigation.

C. If a court of this Commonwealth determines that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, it shall stay the proceedings upon condition that a child custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another designated state and may impose any other condition the court considers just and proper.

D. A court of this Commonwealth may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under this act if a child custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another proceeding while still retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.

1979, c. 229, § 20-130; 2001, c. 305.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.