When parents separate or divorce in California, that state will have jurisdiction when issuing a child support order . If at least one party continues to reside in the state, California continues to have jurisdiction in the case. However, a parent may not be aware of this if they move. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act provides the guidance needed to determine when a new order may be issued in a different state.

Because modification needs occur frequently, the UIFSA was designed to provide a standard regarding how such changes would be handled. Once jurisdiction is determined, the obligor may seek a modification in that state. It would be inappropriate to seek a modification in a different state, but there may be cases in which a second order could be issued related to child support obligations. For example, a support order might exist in the child’s state of residence based on the obligor’s presence in that state at the time of a separation. If that party later filed for divorce from a different state, support might be ordered in the divorce decree. The UIFSA would be used to identify the order that would take precedence.

There may be cases in which none of the parties continue to reside in a state where an initial child support order was issued. If an order was not issued in a child’s current state of residence, then the UIFSA defers to the most recent order. Because these issues can become complicated for those who have moved frequently, it may be important to obtain legal advice about modifications.

A parent who is unable to keep up with child support payments may want to move quickly to obtain a modification to avoid falling into arrears. It may be advisable to work with a lawyer in the jurisdictional state to ensure that the modification is handled expeditiously.