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The Year in Review: Child Support - Jurisdiction

As printed in the State Bar of California Family Law News publication, below is a summary of a pivotal case regarding Jurisdiction and its effect on child support.

Marriage of Richardson (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 1240

"A California court had jurisdiction over child support for a child whose home state was Japan when no support case was initiated elsewhere.

A couple married in 2003 and had a child. From 2007 on, their child lived with the mother in Japan. After the father petitioned for marital dissolution in California, the marriage was dissolved in 2009. A trial court found it lacked jurisdiction to award custody or child support because the child's "home state" was Japan. Acting on the wife's appeal, an appellate court reversed the child support portion of the judgment. It held that the Uniform Chidl Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) does not preclue a California court from making a support order for a child whose home state is not California, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) only restricts a California court's jurisdiction to order support if a comparable support petition or pleading has been initiated in the child's home state. (Family Code Section 4908.) Because this was not the case, the California court had jurisdiction to order support for the parties' child in Japan."