Registering and Enforcing Out of State Orders / by Cassandra Hearn

Following a divorce, it is quite common for one or both of the parties to relocate to a new state. Recently divorced or separated couples often are searching for a fresh start, a new job, or maybe simply want to return to where their family resides for continuing emotional support while they rebuild their lives. At the end of the divorce or custody proceeding that came before the relocation, there will be a final order entered that dictates terms of property division, spousal support, child custody, or child support. In certain cases, there may also be a domestic violence restraining order. In some situations, it may be important for the order to be transferred to the new state of each party’s residence. This is also called registering an out-of-state order.

For child support orders, the relevant portion of California law is contained in California Family Code section 4900. All fifty states have adopted a version of this law, which is also called the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The California law sets out the procedures for registering a child support order from another state in California. The custodial parent will often want to do this for two reasons. The first is to make sure an income withholding order is followed by the state of California. The second reason would be because the custodial parent is seeking to modify the order. Without registration, a California court may not have the jurisdiction to modify another state’s order. Once the order is registered, a California court may change the amount of future support due. However, even after registration, a California court cannot modify an out of state judgment for child support arrearages.

Registering an out-of-state custody order can also be essential. A parent may want to register the order in California in order to modify the order or ask a California court to help enforce the order. As with any custody issue, it is strongly advisable to seek the advice of a local attorney before taking any steps that may impact your custody order or strategy for future modification.

If you have questions about your out-of-state custody or support order, call us today at 619-800-0384. We can talk about what needs to be done to make sure modification and enforcement of your order in California goes smoothly.