She and the children live in Arizona and she says she is going to file the child support modification there. However, I still live in Colorado where our divorced was finalized and the child support order issued.
Can my ex-wife file for a child support modification in another state?
This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide advice on child support laws in your state.
You are likely going to deal with jurisdictional issues before you get to any of the substantive issues regarding child support. Jurisdictional issues are often complicated and are based on a combination of state and federal law.
In your particular case, you’re looking at having to navigate federal, Colorado, and Arizona law, and that is all before you get to any arguments relating to the amount of child support that should be paid.
Your wife can file for enforcement of a child support order in another state. The applicable laws: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), the federal Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA), and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) provide many of the rules for a case such as yours.
Essentially, UIFSA provides the rules your wife would use to establish the support order issued in Colorado in an Arizona court. The FFCCSOA will provide guidelines for which state’s law to use in interpreting the amount and duration of your support obligation.
Finally, if you’re going to plan to make an argument to keep the matter in Colorado the UCCJEA will likely be your source for law to support such an argument. The UCCJEA, which deals with custody and visitation matters, will provide the rules for establishing the children’s home state and determining which court should hear such matters.
Although it may not always seem like it, courts prefer efficiency. Judges will more than likely decide to have a case heard all at once, before one court, instead of two at different time.
If you can convince the Colorado and Arizona courts that the UCCJEA applies and your case should be heard in Colorado, the Arizona court may forego any claim to jurisdiction in the name of judicial efficiency and hear the child custody, visitation, and child support cases all together.
Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and financial advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a divorce lawyer.