Jurisdiction Over Child Support Modifications

Jurisdiction Over Child Support Modifications

Parents in North Carolina who have been ordered to pay child support can petition a court to modify payments when there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the time that the last order was entered. A court must have jurisdiction to hear the case to enter an order for modification. If one of the parents has moved away since the last order was entered, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act controls which state has the jurisdiction to hear the case.

The UIFSA has been codified in every state. More than one state can have exclusive jurisdiction to modify a preexisting child support order under the act. When this occurs, courts look to the home state of the child. If an order has been issued in that state, it controls the case, but if no order has been issued in that state, then the most recently issued order controls.

For example, if one parent moved away to North Carolina and filed for divorce leaving the child and other parent in another state, a North Carolina court could issue a divorce decree. If the parent in the child’s home state applied for a modification of child support, a court in that state could issue a decree. However, the divorce decree would be controlling on the issue of child support until another order was issued in the child’s home state.

Child support payments are generally ordered according to the income of both parents. In a child support dispute, there may be arguments back and forth about what counts as income. A family law attorney can often be of assistance to a parent in such a situation.


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