Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA)

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The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) establishes national standards to determine jurisdiction in interstate custody disputes. PKPA imposes a duty on the states to enforce a child custody determination entered by a court of a sister state if the determination is consistent with the provisions of the Act. If the state custody statute conflicts with PKPA, the federal statute controls. 

However, courts still need to comply with the jurisdictional provisions under PKPA when giving the decrees from sister states full faith and credit. For example, in Williams v. Williams, the Supreme Court of North Carolina held that an original Indiana custody decree was not entitled to full faith and credit in North Carolina, because the court could not have exercised jurisdiction to determine custody of one child who had never lived outside of North Carolina, or custody of another child without determining that it had subject matter jurisdiction.

See also child custody, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA).

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]