Let me employ the same disclaimer here as I mentioned in Lesson 23. I am not your lawyer! I am only offering a simple overview of the complicated nuances of UIFSA as they govern the two-step process of child support proceedings when there is no personal, or long-arm, jurisdiction in the state where the action is filed.
So, if Mom now lives in Kentucky, she can initiate her petition here, and Kentucky is considered the “initiating tribunal.” The Kentucky court then sends 3 copies of the Petition, and the accompanying documentation, to the appropriate court in Tennessee, which is deemed to be the “responding tribunal.”
Under that scenario, the court in Tennessee takes over, and it has the jurisdiction to issue, enforce or modify a child support order.
If Texas has already issued a valid child support order, that order can be directly enforced in Tennessee (Dad’s state of residence), OR it can be registered in Tennessee according to a very specific set of requirements and, if not successfully contested by Dad in Tennessee, it would be confirmed there and could then be modified by the court in Tennessee if certain other circumstances are found to exist. Thus the two-state process, or what we can remember as the Texas Two-Step.
In an effort to be fair to respondents such as Dad who now reside in Tennessee, UIFSA does not allow Mom to seek modification of the Texas order in a Kentucky court, where she now lives, unless Dad is subject to the long-arm jurisdiction we discussed in Lesson 23, or all of the parties agree for Kentucky to take over jurisdiction to enforce and modify the order.
The really good news is that the county attorney’s office is responsible for dealing with UIFSA proceedings, so if you find yourself in the realm of interstate child support chaos, you can just call them and let them take care of the details.
After the call, you can just relax and wait for your checks to come in the mail. (At least that's the way it is supposed to work!)