Did your ex-spouse recently move to California from another state and you want to enforce a Child Support Order against him or her? There are several things you need to know.
First, you will need to register the foreign (or out of state) order with a California court. Per California Family Code section 4951(a), the registrant must submit the following documents:
“(1) A letter of transmittal to the tribunal requesting registration and enforcement. (2) Two copies, including one certified copy, of all orders to be registered, including any modification of an order. (3) A sworn statement by the party seeking registration or a certified statement by the custodian of the records showing the amount of any arrearage. (4) The name of the obligor and, if known: (i) The obligor's address and social security number;(ii) The name and address of the obligor's employer and any other source of income of the obligor; and (iii) A description and the location of property of the obligor in this state not exempt from execution. (5) The name and address of the obligee and, if applicable, the agency or person to whom support payments are to be remitted.”
Once registered, the foreign order is enforceable in the same manner and is subject to the same procedures as an order issued by a California court. (California Family Code section 4952(b)).
However, what about modifying the out of state Child Support Order? Does California have the jurisdiction to modify the out of state Child Support Order? Generally, no. California may not exercise jurisdiction to modify an out of state Child Support Order, if the issuing state had both subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction at the time that the order was made. (See California Family Code section 4952(c)). The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which is codified at California Family Code sections 4900-5005, provides the statutory framework to establish the proper jurisdictional grounds.
While the general answer regarding modification is no, there are exceptions. Per California Family Code section 4962, a California court can modify a foreign Child Support Order if all of the parties to the case reside in this state (California) and the child does not reside in the issuing state, California would have jurisdiction to enforce and to modify the issuing state’s Child Support Order.
Further, California Family Code section 4960, a California code can modify a Child Support Order if, after notice and a hearing, the California court finds either of the following:
“(1) The child, individual obligee, and obligor do not reside in the issuing state; a petitioner who is a nonresident of California seeks modification; and the respondent is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the California tribunal; or
(2) The child, or a party who is an individual, is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the California tribunal, and all of the parties who are individuals have filed written consents in the issuing tribunal for a California tribunal to modify the support order and assume continuing exclusive jurisdiction (with a special exception if the issuing state is a foreign jurisdiction).”
Nevertheless, a California court may issue a temporary child support order on an ex parte basis, or pending the resolution of a jurisdictional dispute. That order is not itself sufficient to create continuing jurisdiction over the child support issue. California Family Code section 4909(e).
If you need help in enforcing or modifying an out of state Child Support Order and have questions about the jurisdictional issues, contact experienced family law attorneys at the Law Office of Taylor B. Warner, APLC.