How Can I Get My Custody Case Moved to My State?

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My ex-spouse was ordered to pay child support and other fees in another state, and they are refusing to pay. They also have taken me to court several times over precised violations of the parenting agreement. How can I get the case moved to my state? Would it be worth it, and how can I do this without costing me thousands of dollars?


Arkansas attorney Giana M. Messore

I have not been retained as your attorney so I cannot give you legal advice. However, I can offer some general information that may help you.

There are two uniform codes that are likely implicated here since the original order was entered in Illinois but you are now living in Indiana with the children. Every state has codified theUniform Interstate Family Support Act (“UIFSA”). This is the statute that will be very helpful to you in telling you where to file a Motion to Modify.

You will want to review Illinois’s version of UIFSA to see what it says about “continuing, exclusive jurisdiction” over child support as it pertains to the obligor (the person who is making the child support payments), the obligee (the person who is receiving the child support payments) and the children who are the center of the child support order. Each state’s statute should tell you what happens when one or more parties leaves the state—in the this case Illinois–where the child support order was originally filed and what to do if you want to file any modifications. You should first consult an attorney who is licensed in Illinois and familiar with their state’s UIFSA. Jurisdictional issues can get very complex. You should also bring to your consultation a copy of the original child support order and any other orders that may have modified it, if applicable.
Next, if you are wanting to make any changes to the custody or visitation provisions in the current order, then the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“the UCCJEA”) is likely implicated here. The UCCJEA has been implemented in all states except for Massachusetts.
In a very brief nutshell, the UCCJEA says that the UCCJEA gives “exclusive and continuing jurisdiction (authority) for child custody matters to the court that has made an initial child custody determination until either (1) that court determines that neither the child, the child’s parents, nor any person acting as a parent has significant connection with the State that made the original order and that substantial evidence is no longer available in the State concerning the child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships or (2) that court or a court of another state determines that the child, the child’s parent, or any person acting as a parent do not reside in the State that initially made the child custody order. Because you and the children no longer live in Illinois, you should be able to move the matter to Indiana for any custody and visitation issues. Illinois likely no longer has the authority to hear this matter.
If you are wanting to enforce any of the previous court’s orders against your ex-spouse, then—if Indiana is like the state that I am licensed to practice in, Arkansas—you will want to file a Motion for Contempt. The first thing you will have to do so the Indiana court can authority and make note on all of the jurisdictional issues mentioned above, will be to register your custody order with the court of the county in Indiana that you are now living in with the children. At least in Arkansas, I believe the cost is very low if anything to do this.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Arkansas divorce lawyer Giana M. Messore, contact Cordell & Cordell.
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