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Determining which state presides over child support issues

It isn't uncommon for Texas parents who owe child support to face changes in their finances that might require modification efforts. Ignoring the obligation when it can't be paid could lead to legal problems, including the potential for wage garnishment or jail time. However, a parent may be concerned about the proper venue for seeking a modification if the child and the other parent have moved. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act provides the guidance needed for one's legal representative to determine where a modification request should be filed.

If the initial child support order was filed in Texas, this will continue to be the state with exclusive jurisdiction as long as any party to the matter remains a resident of the state. Even if the child and the other parent move to a different state, the initial order would need to be modified in the original state. This could change if all parties moved away from Texas, at which point the most recent order to be issued would determine the jurisdiction.

Jurisdictional matters are not dependent on whether a divorce has occurred. For example, an individual might be ordered to pay child support in case of a separation. Subsequently obtaining a divorce from a court in a different state would not override the existing support order if the child and the other parent continue to reside in the initial jurisdiction. However, a separation that has not been handled through legal avenues with a formal support order could be a different matter in terms of jurisdiction.

Because child support and other divorce matters can become complicated when different states are involved, it can be important to have the assistance of an experienced lawyer. This may allow for efficiency in filing for divorce, seeking support modifications, or requesting changes in a parenting plan.

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