Thanks to the advent of the Internet, my office handles such matters on a weekly basis. As New Jersey Child Support Attorneys, we know how to navigate this challenging area of the law.
On March 5, 1998, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act was put into effect. The act took the place of the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, commonly referred to as RURESA. The new Uniform Interstate Family Support Act applies to all proceedings to institute, implement or amend a child support order. The act even includes the authority to determine paternity. Yet, one of the most relevant provisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act is 2A: 4-30.68. This provision of the act is titled “personal jurisdiction over nonresidents” and alleviates jurisdictional dilemmas by creating a long arm statute for New Jersey. The provision reads as follows:
2A: 4-30.68 Personal jurisdiction over nonresidents
In a proceeding to establish, enforce, or modify a support order or to determine parentage, a tribunal of this State may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident individual or the individual’s guardian or conservator if:
a. The individual is personally served with a summons or notice within this State;
b. The individual submits to the jurisdiction of this State by consent, by entering a general appearance, or by filing a responsive document having the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction;
c. The individual resided with the child in this State;
d. The individual resided in this State and provided prenatal expense or support for the child;
e. The child resides in this State as a result of the acts or directives of the individual;
f. The individual engaged in sexual intercourse in this State and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse; or
g. There is any other basis consistent with the constitutions of this State and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.
Therefore, the proceedings can take place in the home state, and jurisdiction conferred in that State, without the requirement that one must be a resident. Additionally, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act creates a series of rules to circumvent issues that potentially may arise under two scenarios: (1) when there is more than one support order initially; or (2) when modification orders from more than one state are incompatible. To solve this issue, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act defines the concept of continuing exclusive jurisdiction.
What is continuing exclusive jurisdiction?
Continuing exclusive jurisdiction is based upon the theory that only one support order may be authoritative among the same people at a single point in time. If a New Jersey court hears a case where the matter involves child support, that particular court, and only that particular court, is entitled to add to and change the support order. Moreover, the court of continuing exclusive jurisdiction is in control over the support case until another court deprives that court of its control. It will keep jurisdiction as long as one of the parties or child remains a resident of the state. Jurisdiction will really only transfer to another state if neither or the parties or child is a resident of the state anymore or if the parties consent to a transfer of jurisdiction among courts.
Another important and highly relevant point worthy of noting on jurisdiction is that under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, jurisdiction is measured at the time the action is filed. With that said, if the parties were to relocate after the beginning of the proceedings, it would be irrelevant to the jurisdictional analysis. This is significant because it eradicates one party trying to avoid an action by moving to a new state after the proceeding has been filed.
What else is laid out in the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act?
According to New Jersey’s child support website, the following specific points are also laid out in the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act:
§ The act keeps the custodial family informed about the case using strict rules. Within two days after receiving a written notice from another state or the non-custodial parent, the New Jersey Child Support Program must send a copy to the custodial parent; the New Jersey Child Support Program must notify the custodial parent if jurisdiction over the non-custodial parent cannot be obtained; and if a New Jersey agency issues an order under the act, it must send a copy of the order to the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent, and the other state’s agency if any
§ The act allows for documentary, telephonic and facsimile testimony
§ The act uses federally mandated forms, so the evidence they contain is admissible in another state
§ The act requires employers to honor income withholding orders issued in another state
§ The act allows the custodial parent to register an order in the non-custodial parent’s state just to enforce the order
§ The act allows for a change in the support order under limited circumstances
§ The act allows for the laws of the issuing state to govern all aspects of current support and payment of past due child support of a standing order
Again, as this area of the law if highly complex, if you or a loved one find themselves such a circumstance, please do not ever hesitate to contact my office at 732-246-0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org so we may guide you through the process. Thank you.