On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Child Support on Wednesday, August 19, 2015.
Child support laws can be confusing, and one of the most confusing parts of the laws is what state has jurisdiction over each case. This can become very confusing if either or both parents move from the state that originally issued the order. The jurisdiction of the case can make a big difference to the payer’s child support obligation because Illinois and other states each have their own formulas for calculating the payments.
In a notable case, a couple had legally separated in New Jersey. The wife filed for and received a child support order from the state of New Jersey in December 1987. The husband moved to Nevada and later filed for divorce. The wife applied for an increase in the support in New Jersey in November 1998. Though New Jersey and Nevada both held previous orders, the court determined that New Jersey held the controlling order because it was the child’s home state.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which has been adopted in every state, considers the home states of both parents and the child to determine which state has “continuing, exclusive jurisdiction,” but the most important factor is the child’s home state. If the courts cannot determine the jurisdiction based on the first rule, it defaults to the most recent order. In the example case, it would mean that if the wife and child also left New Jersey, Nevada would then become the correct jurisdiction.
Since every child support dispute is different, it is important to consult an attorney before filing for any modifications or moving to another state. Filing a modification in the wrong jurisdiction can become a waste of both time and money, and moving to another state can quickly switch the child support jurisdiction to one that may not be favorable.