Jurisdiction Issues Can Complicate Your Case

Dec 11, 2014

When parties with children divorce, and one parent moves to another state there may often be issues as to which state has jurisdiction over the parties should any disagreement arises.

In the recent case of Morgan v. Pfau, the parties divorced in Pennsylvania after seven years of marriage and the wife was given primary physical custody of their two children.  After the divorce, the wife relocated with the children to New Jersey.  Thereafter, the parties came to an agreement regarding child support and entered an order in a Pennsylvania court.  Six years later, the parties returned to the courts to resolve further issues and at that time consented to allowing the New Jersey courts to have jurisdiction over any disputes regarding child custody or child support. 

The jurisdictional issue arose when the parties both filed for modification of child support; the husband  in Pennsylvania and the wife in New Jersey.  On appeal, the Appellate Division found that the wife failed to provide evidence showing a subjective intent of both parties to transfer jurisdiction to New Jersey.  In addition, the Appellate Division stated that under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which is adopted in New Jersey, a consent to change jurisdiction must be filed in the state that originally heard the case.  So, here according to the Appellate Division New Jersey did not have jurisdiction as  the parties did not file the necessary consent in Pennsylvania.

If you are seeking a modification of your child support obligation, the experienced attorneys at Sarno da Costa D’Aniello Maceri LLC can answer all of your questions, including those involving jurisdiction.  Call us today at 973- 274-5200 for help with your case.