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Child support and jurisdiction issues

California noncustodial parents who have been ordered to pay child support will often later have a change in their finances that makes it difficult for them to afford the amount they were ordered to pay each month. When the change is a substantial one, courts may modify the amount that was ordered to a lower one.

Questions regarding jurisdiction sometimes arise. A court with jurisdiction is the one which should preside over the case. Determining jurisdiction involves applying the mandates of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act in cases in which the parent and child live in different states. The law has been adopted by all 50 states.

Under the UIFSA, the state in which the obligor, obligee or child reside will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear petitions to modify. In some cases, the three may all live in different states, meaning several states could claim jurisdiction. To solve that problem, the law indicates that if the child resides in the state in which the original order was issued, that state will have jurisdiction. If the child has relocated to a new state, the state in which the most recent order was issued will have exclusive jurisdiction.

People who have questions regarding jurisdiction for their needed child support modification petition may want to seek the advice of a family law attorney. Legal counsel may review both the child's location as well as where the last order was issued in order to determine the correct state in which to file. If California has jurisdiction, the attorney may then help by drafting the petition and helping the client to collect the evidence they need to support it.

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