Asked in Child Support for Puerto Rico

Q: I pay Child Support in New York State for my two oldest children. I now live in Puerto Rico.

My son was emancipated at 18 because he enlisted in the army, I stopped paying his part and continued to pay for my daughter’s part without failing, my son is now 21 and NYS Child support is still charging me for his part. I’ve called for petitions and they keep telling me they don’t have jurisdiction but this is where my bill stubs come from. My Children and their mom have moved from NY to FLORIDA then NC and now AZ meantime Child support is from NYS... What can I do to fix this because I now have a warrant over this.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nelson Jose Francisco Alvarez-Aponte
  • Carolina, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: Hello and thank you for using Justia. You need to figure out where was the original Child Support obligation order issued. This is whom has the jurisdiction over the Child Support case. According to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) (to facilitate collecting child support across state lines.) every state has a child support agency to assist with the process. The State who issued the original Child Support order is the State with sole jurisdiction over said order. Thus no other State regardless of where that child lives has jurisdiction over the matter, said residency State only assists in the collection of the Child Support order. Any claim, changes, elimination or credit of payments made will have to be requested with the State that has the original jurisdiction over the matter.

Assuming Puerto Rico was the original jurisdiction, you will need to file and litigate any matters dealing with the Child Support order in ASUME of Puerto Rico. For this you will need an Attorney in Puerto Rico. Your son was a minor according to the laws of Puerto Rico when he joined the military. He was never legally emancipated as per law in Puerto Rico. Joining the Army is not automatic emancipation but can be a reason for emancipation. In Puerto Rico the majority of age is reached at 21, unless legally emancipated under Puerto Rico laws, thus Child Support is mandated until that age and until you have requested and received an elimination of Child Support order. In the event that said child is in school, the Child Support order can be extended upto an additional four years until the age of 25(certain rules apply).

To resolve your dilema, you will need to file an elimination order of Child Support order and request credit for the past three years that your son was in the Army thus qualifying for emancipation under law.

If you need additional information please feel free to contact me directly.

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