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Child support and interstate jurisdiction over modifications

Arizona parents who have experienced a significant financial change in their circumstances since a child support order was issued may need to file a petition with the court to modify the amount of the payments. In cases in which a parent or a child have relocated to a new state since the order was issued, the parent who needs the modification may not know in which state to file the motion.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act governs which state will have the jurisdiction to hear a child support case. Under the act, which has been adopted by all 50 states, the state in which the obligee, the obligor or the child lives may claim jurisdiction. In some cases, this may mean that multiple states could potentially have jurisdiction over the case.

In order to further clarify the appropriate court, the UIFSA instructs courts to consider both where the child lives as well as the state in which the order was issued. If the child lives in the state that issued the order, that state will still have jurisdiction. If the child has moved to a different state, the last state that issued a child support order in the case will have jurisdiction.

Understanding jurisdiction is important when determining where to file a child support order modification motion. People who have questions regarding jurisdiction in their particular case may want to consult with a family law attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help determine in which state the parent should file. If the appropriate state is not Arizona, the attorney may then provide a referral to an attorney in the other state. If Arizona does have jurisdiction, the attorney may then help by drafting the motion on the client's behalf.

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