Modifying Child Support When Neither Parent Lives in Arizona

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Some parents ask about modifying child support when neither parent lives in Arizona. The Arizona Court of Appeals addressed that issue and concluded parents cannot modify child support if neither parent continues to reside in Arizona.

First, you should know Arizona has codified the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (“UIFSA”) in A.R.S. §25-1201 et seq. UIFSA governs the jurisdiction of the court to establish, modify, or enforce child support orders when more than one state is involved.

In its published decision in State ex rel. Dep’t of Econ. Sec. v. Tazioli, 226 Ariz. 293 (App.2011), the Arizona Court of Appeals examined what happens to an attempt to modify a child support order in Arizona after all the parties have left and moved to different states.

Tazioli involved an Arizona child support order for Father to pay Mother $514 per month that was entered in 2000.

In 2008, after all the parties have moved away from Arizona, Father filed a Petition to Modify Child Support.

The State appeared in the action and informed the trial court that Mother refused to submit to the jurisdiction of Arizona.

Father’s position was that the trial court had the power to modify the child support order since the existing order was from Arizona and Father was unaware of Mother or the child’s whereabouts.

The trial court issued an order asserting continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the matter and modified the child support order.  The State appealed.

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Loss of Jurisdiction to Modify Child Support When Neither Parent Lives in Arizona

On appeal, the State argued that the trial court had erred by finding that it had continued, exclusive jurisdiction to modify the child support order.

The Court of Appeals agreed and found that under A.R.S. § 25-1225(A), Arizona no longer had the power to modify the child support order.  A.R.S. § 25-1225(A) states:

  1. A tribunal of this state that has issued a support order consistent with the law of this state has and shall exercise continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify its child support order if the order is the controlling order and either:
  2. At the time of the filing of the request for modification, this state is the residence of the obligor, the individual obligee, or the child for whose benefit the support order is issued.
  3. If this state is not the residence of the obligor, the individual obligee, or the child for whose benefit the support order is issued, the parties consent in a record or in open court that the tribunal of this state may continue to exercise jurisdiction to modify its order.

You Cannot Modify Child Support in Arizona if Neither Parent or the Child Lives in Arizona

Modification of Child Support When Neither Parent Lives in Arizona.

If Mother had consented to the jurisdiction of Arizona, the trial court would have had the authority to modify the child support order under A.R.S. § 25-1225(A)(2), however, that was not the case.

The good news is that Father did receive a little assistance in his mission to modify his child support order.

The Court of Appeals directed the trial court, under its authority in A.R.S. §§ 25-1241 and 25-1244, to forward Father’s Petition to Modify Child Support to the appropriate state that would have jurisdiction to adjudicate his action.

Father would presumably submit himself to the jurisdiction of that state and the modification could proceed.

If you have questions about modifying child support when neither parent lives in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona child support and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in child support and family law cases.

Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.

Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your child support or family law case around today.

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