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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Interstate child support laws

After an order for child support payments is issued in Tennessee, there could be many changes in circumstances for both parents. When one parent's financial situation changes significantly, the child support order could be modified. If one parent has moved to a different state when the modification is requested, there could be confusion about which state has jurisdiction over the case.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, enacted in every state, addresses the jursidictional issues arising from interstate child support cases. According to the UIFSA, more than one state can technically have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a family law case. However, the child support order that is issued in the home state of the child controls which state has jurisdiction over a potential modification to the child support order. If no order was issued in the child's home state, than the state that most recently issued a child support order has jurisdiction.

In a 1987 case, a New Jersey court used UIFSA to determine whether New Jersey or Nevada had jurisdiction over a case involving divorced parents. Though a divorce decree was issued in Nevada, the court determined that New Jersey had jurisdiction over child support issues because it was the state where the child resided.

Interstate child support disputes can be confusing and stressful for both the paying parent and the recipient parent. A parent who is involved in this type of situation may want to have representation from an attorney who has experience in family law matters. Legal counsel may also be able to help a parent petition for an initial child support order after the other parent has moved to a different state.

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