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Child support modifications and interstate jurisdiction

Texas residents whose circumstances have substantially changed since their child support orders were issued may have difficulty making their payments. Because the law recognizes such things can happen, it allows people to file motions to modify their child support to seek reductions in the ordered payment amounts.

Some people are unsure of where they should file their modification petitions. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, or UIFSA, controls the jurisdictional question when parents and children reside in different states from each other. Although the UIFSA is a federal act, it has been codified into state law in all 50 states.

The act says that a state in which the payor, payee or child resides may claim jurisdiction. Since there are certain cases in which three different states could potentially claim jurisdiction, the UIFSA directs courts to consider both the residence of the child as well as the jurisdiction from where the child support order issued. If the child still lives in the state where the child support order was issued, that state will have exclusive jurisdiction. If the child has moved to a different state, the last state that issued an order in the case will have jurisdiction over the matter.

It is not uncommon for a person to experience a change in their financial circumstances that necessitates a need for a reduction in child support amounts. In the event that occurs, the person may want to seek the help of a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to determine the appropriate jurisdiction in which to file the petition. They may then draft and file it for their clients in court. The person should continue making their court-ordered payments until the judge grants the reduction. Modifications of child support are not applied retroactively, so if arrears have accrued, they will still need to be paid.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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