If you have questions about any court or case matter, please call the appropriate phone number or come to the courthouse. We do not answer questions about cases via email. Effective January 1, , and thereafter, new Child Support Guidelines are effective that must be followed. Reference: OCGA You or your attorney will be required to file financial information on an approved "Child Support Worksheet" before the court can consider any calculation of child support.
The ""Restatement of Conflict Second , under the topic of Defenses to Recognition and Enforcement, states that a judgment rendered in one state need not be recognized or enforced in a sister state insofar as the judgment remains subject to modification. A local court is free to recognize or enforce a judgment that remains subject to modification under the local law. Child support orders are considered judgments of this sort.
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To satisfy full faith and credit, the local law of the state of rendition will be applied to determine whether a judgment is modifiable -- particularly in respect to past and future financial obligations. The act made it a punishable offense for a husband to desert, willfully neglect or refuse to provide for the support and maintenance of his wife in destitute or necessitous circumstances, or for a parent to fail in the same duty to his child less than 16 years of age.
The act sought to improve the enforcement of the duties of support, but it did not take into account payers who fled the jurisdiction. With the increasing mobility of the population, welfare departments had to support the destitute families because the extradition process was inefficient and often unsuccessful.
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Criminal enforcement relied upon the obligee state demanding the extradition of the obligor , or for the obligor to surrender. The initiating state would determine if the obligor had a duty of support. If the initiating court upheld the claim, the initiating court would forward the case to the obligor's state. The responding state, having personal jurisdiction over the obligor, would provide notice and a hearing for obligor. After this hearing, the responding court would enforce the support order.
In some cases, the responding court only had evidence from the obligor and not have any evidence from the initiating state or the obligee. The responding court, with only one side represented tended to benefit the obligor. The Commission's solution was to amend URESA so the initiating state and the obligee would provide evidence to the responding court along with the original case file, so the responding court would have positions from both parties.
The Commission also provided a second method to obtain redress via civil enforcement. The new method permitted the obligee to register the foreign support order in a court of the obligor's state, and present that case directly to the foreign court. Since every state could both enforce and modify a support order, a new support order could be entered in each state.
Thus, if the father moved from State A to State B to State C to State D, and if the mother continually registered and had the order modified, then there would be four separate and independent support orders. RURESA allowed state courts to modify the original order so long as the court applied its own procedural law and the law of the original state, unless that contravened its own public policy. The Commission intended to correct the problem of inconsistent multiple orders by only allowing the support orders to be modified based upon a single state's law.
In theory, states A, B and C could only modify a support order based upon the original state's substantive law; thus, all the support orders should be identical. In practice, however, this rule created ambiguities concerning whether child support guidelines are procedural or substantive, and if substantive, whether application of that substantive law contravened some public policy. The multiple order issue remained a problem. UIFSA corrected this problem by providing that only one state would possess the power to make or modify child support at any one time "continuing exclusive jurisdiction".
The state with continuous exclusive jurisdiction would use its own child support guidelines. Thus, if the child or either one of the parents remained in the original state, then that state retained jurisdiction and only that state could modify the support order.
Only if both parents and the child left the state could another state assume child support jurisdiction although any state could enforce the original state's order, regardless of residence of parent or child. As of , only a few states had adopted the amendments. In UIFSA was revised to allow implementation of the Hague Maintenance Convention which ensures a uniform policy amongst countries and a way to organize child support issues globally.
Critically, orders are recognized and enforced between parties to the convention. It entered into force on 1 January Every state's guidelines are unique, so every state awards different monetary amounts. Between two states, the difference in award's amounts may be nominal when taken on a weekly basis.
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Over long periods, however, these weekly differences accumulate to material sums. A conflict of laws issue can confront courts. For simplicity, this article uses the model where the mother becomes the parent with custody of the children and the father makes child support payments, with the understanding that this model has become less typical. For example, a man and a woman marry in West Virginia. During the marriage, the husband and the wife have children. In West Virginia, the husband and the wife divorce.
Child support in the United States
West Virginia issues a divorce decree that gives the wife custody of the children and orders the husband to pay child support. Subsequently, the wife moves to Connecticut with the children. Due to a change in circumstances, the husband, who may or may not still reside in West Virginia, seeks a modification of West Virginia's divorce decree.
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The conflict was over which state's guidelines are to apply. Some witnesses testified that the law most advantageous to the child should govern, others testified that the law where the obligor resides should govern, and still others testified that the law where the child resides should govern. The Connecticut Legislature anomalously created two registration methods. Both methods allow for a foreign order to be registered in Connecticut. The UIFSA registration method allows the following scenarios: 1 one party remains in the original state, and the other party moves to Connecticut or 2 the mother and father both leave the original state.
If either the mother or father remain in the original state, the original state retains continuous exclusive jurisdiction. The second scenario is that the mother moves to Connecticut, and the father moves to a third state state B , leaving neither party domiciled in the original state.
If the order is registered in either Connecticut or in B and that state's court issues a new order, then the original state loses jurisdiction. In the state where a new order is issued, Connecticut or state B would obtain the power to modify the order. This situation produces a race to the courthouse. The mother wants to register the order in the state with guidelines more favorable to her and the father seeks the opposite. Under RURESA Connecticut General Statute 46b controls, providing the courts with a conflict of laws rule concerning the enforcement of a foreign matrimonial judgment within Connecticut.
It states:. Such foreign matrimonial judgment shall become a judgment of the court of this state where it is filed and shall be enforced and otherwise treated in the same manner as a judgment of a court in this state; provided such foreign matrimonial judgment does not contravene the public policy of the state of Connecticut. A foreign matrimonial judgment so filed shall have the same effect and may be enforced or satisfied in the same manner as any like judgment of a court of this state and is subject to the same procedures for modifying, altering, amending, vacating, setting aside, staying or suspending said judgment as a judgment of a court of this state; provided, in modifying, altering, amending, setting aside, vacating, staying or suspending any such foreign matrimonial judgment in this state the substantive law of the foreign jurisdiction shall be controlling.
The statute allows courts to modify a foreign judgment using local procedures, applying the substantive law of the foreign jurisdiction, unless that application of the substantive law would contravene Connecticut public policy. In Burton v. Burton , the Connecticut Supreme Court recognized that 46b governed. In addition, the Court held that the related laws were "substantive" so the foreign law would control. If a Connecticut court characterizes the child support guidelines as procedural, then the court applies the local child support guidelines; if the courts characterize the child support guidelines as substantive, then the courts must apply the foreign state's child support guidelines, with the usual caveat.click
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The Connecticut Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether the trial court correctly applied the substantive law of the foreign jurisdiction but not whether the foreign state's guidelines are "substantive". In Evans v. Evans , the Connecticut Appellant Court indirectly addressed the issues and held that it would not disturb an order of the trial court absent an abuse of discretion. The trial court held, among other factors, that it was not bound by the New York's guidelines, although it did consider them. The Appellant Court failed to state explicitly which guidelines the court should apply.
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The Connecticut Superior Courts differ as to when the courts must determine if that substantive law includes that state's child support guidelines. In , the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that the child's domicile governs which guidelines should apply. In this case the parents married in the District and family moved to Maryland. The divorced father returned to the District, and the mother and the children remained in Maryland. The court granted the father's request that Maryland's guidelines apply following precedent while stating that the" governmental interest analysis test" would lead to the same result.
Non-custodial parents who avoid their child support obligations are sometimes termed deadbeat parents. It is claimed that some of these arrearage cases are due to administrative practices such as imputing income to parents where it does not exist and issuing default orders of support. According to one study  reasons given for non-payment of support were as follows:. A custodial parent receiving public assistance, e.
The custodial parent must also pursue child support. Any payment is diverted to the welfare program as partial reimbursement. Typically the amount of child support equals or exceeds the assistance grant, allowing the family to leave the cash assistance program potentially remaining eligible for food stamps, etc. Other provisions of PRWORA require and assist the custodial parent to find employment such as buying new work clothes. Child support enforcement programs in all 50 states are primarily federally funded. Half of unpaid child support is owed to the government.
Sherri Z. Heller, Ed. D, Commissioner of U.