Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

If a child does not live in Florida, can a court still order that child support be paid for that child? The answer depends on where the parents reside and whether or not the court has jurisdiction over the parents. As we see in the case Keogh v. Keogh, 5D18-1080 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018), when it comes to deciding whether or not there is jurisdiction to establish a Florida child support order, where the child resides is not the determining factor. 

By the time a petition for dissolution of marriage was filed, the former wife was residing in Ireland with the parties' minor child. It was undisputed that Florida was not the child's home state at the time the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed, and therefore the trial court could not make a child custody determination under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA"). 

The former wife filed a counter-petition seeking child support to which the former husband responded with a motion to dismiss. The former husband argued that because the court did not have jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, any issues concerning the child could not be litigated in Florida. The trial court granted the former husband's motion to dismiss and the former wife appealed. 

The appellate court reversed the trial court's order distinguishing between jurisdiction for child custody issues and for child support issues. The UCCJEA specifically states that it is applicable to child custody matters and not to child support matters. Because the court had personal jurisdiction over the parties, the former husband could be ordered to pay child support by the court, and this has nothing to do with where the child resides. 

Jurisdiction can sometimes be a complicated matter which requires the assistance of a lawyer. If you are not sure whether your case can be filed in a Florida court, schedule a consultation with a Miami divorce lawyer to determine the best way to proceed.