Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act – Personal Jurisdiction

Ex parte Jessica Sperry, [Ms. CL-2022-1036, Dec. 9, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2022). The court (Fridy, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore and Hanson, JJ., concur; Edwards, J., concurs in the result) grants Jessica Sperry’s (“the mother”) mandamus petition directing the Autauga Circuit Court to dismiss an action filed by Patrick Quinlivan (“the father”) seeking to modify an Arizona judgment regarding custody and child support.

The court reiterates that “except when temporary emergency jurisdiction is involved (which is not the case here), an Alabama court may not modify a child-custody determination made by a court of another state unless the Alabama court has both subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to § 30-3B-201 [of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act] and personal jurisdiction over the affected parties.” Ms. *5 , citing Ex parte Vega-Lopez, 297 So. 3d 1273, 1277 (Ala. Civ. App. 2019). The father argued that the mother’s arrest in Alabama on a criminal charge supported personal jurisdiction over her. However, the court holds “there is no reason to believe that the mother’s arrest had any relation to the modification action, and because there is nothing before us to indicate that the mother reasonably should have expected to be haled into court here, the father’s assertion that the trial court had specific jurisdiction over the mother relative to his request to modify custody must fail.” Ms. *7.

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