Adoption in the Conflict of Laws: The UAA, Not the UCCJA, is the Answer, 84 Cal. L. Rev. 703 (1996)
In recent years a number of courts in adoption cases have resolved interstate jurisdictional disputes using the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA). This Article contends that the UCCJA was never intended to be applied in adoption cases, but rather was crafted specifically to meet the very different requirements of child custody disputes following the dissolution of a marriage. Specifically, the UCCJA is designed for situations in which custody determinations are not final judgments and so can be modified to meet changed circumstances. Adoption orders, by contrast, are final judgments, and as such are entitled to full faith and credit in the courts ofother states. This Article argues that the proper model for dealing with interstate jurisdictional issues in adoption cases is the Uniform Adoption Act (UAA), which is carefully designed for this purpose. The Article urges state legislatures to enact the UAA, with suggested modifications. Further, the Article urges state courts to begin using the Full Faith and Credit Clause to resolve interstate adoption problems, rather than waiting for legislative action. By continuing to apply the UCCJA in adoption cases, the Article argues, courts risk damage both to the parties in those cases and to the underlying substantive law.