My question is about divorce jurisdiction. We were divorced in Florida but my ex-wife now lives in Massachusetts with the kids.
Who controls the child support issue? The state we divorced in or the state the kids now live in?
Your question may largely be answered by looking at the federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act or “UIFSA,” which has been adopted by all states in the United States of America. Whenever more than one state has an interest in establishing, enforcing or modifying a child or spousal support order, the UIFSA is used to determine the jurisdiction and power of the courts in the different states.
I need some additional information in order to properly answer your question. I am assuming you divorced in Florida and that Florida issued a child support Order at that time. Normally, under UIFSA, the state that issued the original child support Order continues to control the issue of child support.
However, if your ex-wife wife properly registered the Florida child support Order in Massachusetts and obtained a new Order issued by a Massachusetts court, jurisdiction may have changed to Massachusetts. It is unlikely that she would be able to obtain a new Order in a new state under UIFSA without you being notified and consenting to Massachusetts jurisdiction.
If you have a copy of the most current child support Order, you should be able to determine if it was issued by Florida or Massachusetts by its heading. In addition, it is helpful to know who you pay child support to each month — your wife, the Florida Department of Revenue, or the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
If you divorced in Florida and a new Order was never issued by a Massachusetts court, the current child support Order is most likely being enforced by the Florida Department of Revenue, and Florida law governs your obligation.
I do not practice in Florida. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Florida, but Cordell & Cordell has attorneys who are licensed in Florida who would be happy to arrange a consultation with you.
If your ex-wife registered the Florida child support Order in Massachusetts and managed to secure a new Order issued by a Massachusetts court, the obligation is most likely being enforced by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, and Massachusetts law governs your obligation. I do not practice in Massachusetts; therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Massachusetts.
Rachel A. Brucks is a Staff Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Brucks is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Brucks received her Bachelors degrees in English and Political Science from the University of Texas at Arlington. She received her Masters in Literature and Gender Studies from Texas State University, San Marcos; and received her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodists University, Dallas.