Which State Controls Jurisdiction If Parties Have Moved?

Albany divorce lawyer Asa NeffQuestion:

After our divorce and child support was ordered to me, my ex-wife and child moved to another state and I also moved to a different state so the original jurisdiction no longer applies.

I recently received child support enforcement and modification paperwork from the state I now live.

So which state has jurisdiction to enforce and modify the child support order: the state my ex-wife and child live in or the new state where I reside?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on New York divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

When a child support order is entered in one state, but the child and the parents no longer live in that state then the child support order remains effective and can be registered in any jurisdiction where any party lives. In your case, the previous child support order can be registered in your new state as you now live in that state.

Registration of an out of state order allows one of the parties to enforce the support order, but it does not necessarily allow for a change or modification of the order.

It sounds as though you have received documentation regarding modification and not just enforcement of the original support order.

Because of what is referred to as the “play away rule,” it would be appropriate for your child’s mother to seek modification in the state you are living in. If she had not done so, and you wanted to seek a modification, you would have had to do so in her state where the child resides.

If there has already been a modification, than yes, the support collection unit in your state would be transferring the support to the collection unit in the state where your ex-wife and child live. Even without a modification, but simply a registration, the support collections unit would simply be collecting and then transferring to the collections unit in the child’s state.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including New York Divorce Lawyer Asa Neff, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “Which State Controls Jurisdiction If Parties Have Moved?

    My husband and his ex wife (they have 3 children) were divorced in the state of Missouri. She moved to TN and my husband, being in the military, has resided in several states since the divorce( WA, KY, GA). In 2012 the state of TN modified the child support order. Two of their children have since graduated high school( 18 yrs of age)one lives with us now. My husband asked for a modification/reduction because only one child is still under 18 (17)and living with his ex. Not only was support not reduced, he was informed that it wouldn’t stop when his daughter turns 18 next July. He will have to continue to pay support until she turns 21 or finishes college and he has to pay for her college. He was told this is according to Missouri state laws. If TN modified the child support order in 2012, why are MO laws applied instead of TN? They should be going by TN law now, should they not? So confused.

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