Bothell, WA asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Washington

Q: Case on UCCJEA and UIFSA. California is the home state of the children and mother. Washington is the home of father.

Need help with our case. The children live in california. They were born in Mexico. They moved to California in 2015 with their mother who chose not to allow contact with my husband as soon as she arrived in the US. My husband moved here to Washington from Mexico in 2010 so has have never lived in Cali. So as far as I can tell Cali does not have personal jurisdiction when it comes to UIFSA laws to establish child support. I can not find a lawyer that knows about this law. The first paperwork we received in 3/20/21 was to establish paternity. We responded to the FL-220 to establish paternity according to the UCCJEA laws thinking they would order a paternity test which he could do here in Washington. We received the paperwork requesting a trial for custody, paternity, visitation, support on 1/29/22 from her lawyer. On 2/5 we received the mediation date, and trial date. I was going to hire an attorney I spoke with in california to handle the UCCJEA and UIFSA case but doesn't know UIFSA

1 Lawyer Answer
Zachary C Ashby
Zachary C Ashby
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Richland, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: For child support, the state where the children live is where jurisdiction is proper. If the children live in California, California has full power to establish a child support obligation and require your husband to pay.

UIFSA and UCCJEA are what are known as uniform law. They are created in a committee and then suggested to different states to enact into law. Washington did adopt this law under RCW 26.21A. Washington labels the uniform law and adopted it entirely. California may have adopted all of it or parts of it depending on the needs of the state and the preexisting laws before UIFSA was created.

Not every state adopts all of the uniform laws. It must be a law adopted by the legislature.

Jurisdiction is discuss in RCW 26.21A.100. California may have similar laws. In order to understand this statute, you need to know a little about jurisdiction in the United States. Jurisdiction is the power of the court to make decisions. Jurisdiction can be established because of presence, residence, or the subject of the case being in the state.

Because both California and Washington would, in theory, have a claim for jurisdiction the purpose of UIFSA is to avoid competing cases being set in each state.

Unfortunately for what you have stated, because the children live in California, California likely has the power to establish child support under the laws of California. The state has an interest in the children being financially supported. The children only have connections to California.

But this is something to ask an attorney in California about, giving them the facts because California may have a different set of laws and not have adopted UIFSA.

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