My Child’s Mother Moved Out of State and Wants to Make Changes to Child Support, Which State has Jurisdiction?

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“I have a five year old daughter with a woman to whom I was never married. At the time of the child’s birth, her mother and I both lived in Ohio. The mother subsequently moved with my daughter to Michigan.

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We have never had a court order. I willingly pay support. However, as one would expect, she is concerned that I am not paying “enough” and we are taking another look at it. I am happy to pay whatever is reasonable, but want it to be as close to what a court would likely rule to protect myself as much as possible from owing a large arrearage at some point (and, of course, to do the right thing).

The question is: under which court, Ohio or Michigan, would child support calculations and judgements be made in this situation? I was advised at one time that it would be Ohio as long as I lived in Ohio and we have worked off that assumption for three years, but want to double check it.”

Unless you somehow give jurisdiction of the Court in Michigan, or already have, you can have jurisdiciton in Ohio. Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), a state can exercise “long arm” jurisdiction. “Long Arm Jurisdiction” is a fancy legal way for a Court to get the ability to make orders that will effect someone not in that state. If one of the UIFSA Section 201 bases for nonresident jurisdiction apply, or you fail to make a timely and proper objection, then the mother of your child can have support set in her home Court in Michigan and not in Ohio. Here’s that statute:

UIFSA, ARTICLE 2. JURISDICTION, PART 1. EXTENDED PERSONAL JURISDICTION SECTION 201. BASES FOR JURISDICTION OVER NONRESIDENT. 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:(1) the individual is personally served with [citation, summons, notice] within this State; (2) 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; (3) the individual resided with the child in this State; (4) the individual resided in this State and provided prenatal expenses or support for the child; (5) the child resides in this State as a result of the acts or directives of the individual; (6) the individual engaged in sexual intercourse in this State and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse; [(7) the individual asserted parentage in the [putative father registry] maintained in this State by the [appropriate agency]; or (8) there is any other basis consistent with the constitutions of this State and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.

If you exercise your legal rights properly, you should be able to keep it as a Ohio child support amount.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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