As Americans continue to become more mobile and thus more likely to move to another state, or even relocate to another country, it is now more common for divorced parents who share parenting time for their children to live in different places. However, moving to another state or country does not end the parent’s obligations to pay child support or maintain the division of the parenting time currently in effect. In order to ensure that these continuing responsibilities are met, many states, including Michigan, enacted a law titled the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. In fact, Michigan revised the statute at the end of last year to bring it line with federal guidelines and streamline collection of child support payments from parents living in other states and countries. Further, because this is a uniform law, meaning it is applied the same in every state where it is in effect, working with other jurisdictions and implementing the statute is much easier.
When a Michigan Has Jurisdiction Over an Out-of-State Resident
Michigan courts have the authority to decide cases involving the enforcement or establishment of a child support order against an out-of-state resident in the following situations:
- the parent is personally served with notice of the petition while present in this state;
- the parent voluntarily submits to the court’s jurisdiction by appearing in court or filing a response to the initial petition;
- the parent lived with the child in this state;
- the parent lived in this state and paid prenatal expenses or child support;
- the child lives in this state due to actions taken by the out-of-state parent;
- the person had sexual intercourse in this state and a child may have been conceived as a result; or
- the person claimed paternity over the child the Michigan’s paternity registry.
This provision typically applies to individuals that never resided in Michigan or did so for a short time but not enough to become a state resident.
Registration of a Child Support Order Issued by a Court in Another State
In order to ask a Michigan court to enforce a child support order issued by a court in another state, the original child support order must be filed and registered with the Michigan courts by the parent seeking their intervention. Once the support is registered, Michigan courts can enforce the order as if it was issued by a court of this state. However, the terms in the support order related to who pays, for how long, and how much are still governed by the laws of the state where the support order was originally issued, and a Michigan court can only modify these items if:
- none of the parties, including the child, live in the state where the child support was issued;
- the petitioner seeking modification is not a resident of this state; and
- the responding parent is subject to the jurisdiction of Michigan courts; or
- the child, or party subject to jurisdiction of Michigan courts, lives in this state and all the
- parties consented to the judicial authority of this state.
Talk to a Family Law Attorney
Having the freedom to move to other places is important to a parent’s ability to secure employment that offers the opportunity to better their children’s lives. If you, or your child’s other parent, recently moved to a new state, it is important to speak with an attorney that can help you register the child support order to minimize any disruption in payment. The Clinton Township law firm of Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. handles a wide variety of family law matters, including child support enforcement. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.