By Ethan M. Weisinger
A client recently asked me, “What do I do about the enforcement of a child support order when both parents have moved out of the state where our child support order was made?”
Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (“UIFSA”, codified at California Family Code §4900, et. seq.), the concept of Continuing Exclusive Jurisdiction (“CEJ”) determines which State has the authority to modify a child support order. UIFSA’s “Controlling Order” is the order to be prospectively enforced. When multiple child support orders exist in a single case, it is necessary to determine CEJ and identify which order is the Controlling Order. Pursuant to UIFSA and Family Code §4909(d), “a tribunal of this state shall recognize the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a tribunal of another state which has issued a child support order pursuant to this chapter or a law substantially similar to this chapter.” The choice-of-law rule for the interpretation of a registered order is: the law of the issuing State governs the underlying terms of the controlling support order, with one exception, and that is if the registering and issuing State have different statutes of limitation for enforcement, the longer time limit applies. (UIFSA §604). In California there is no statute of limitations for collection of child support. Therefore a parent can seek child support arrears even after the child has grown to be an adult.