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Where Can I Modify Child Support?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2016 | Divorce

The jurisdiction over child support changes can be confusing.

Under most state laws, the state that initially issued the current child support order maintains jurisdiction until both parents and their child leave the state. So, if you are a mom living in Tennessee, and your current child support order is from a Tennessee Court, Tennessee will be the appropriate state in which to seek a modification of your child support order. It does not matter where the father resides, as long as Tennessee was the state that issued the child support order currently in effect.

However, the situation can change.

This happens when all parties (including the child) leave the state that issued the child support order. If you want to modify an out of state order in Tennessee, you must be a non-resident of this state. If you are a resident of Tennessee then you will have to file where the adverse party resides. Tennessee would not have jurisdiction over a child support order in this situation.

Although it seems counter-intuitive, the logic of the law makes sense – it protects individuals who have never stepped foot in Tennessee.

For example:

  • A couple is divorced in Alabama and a child support order is entered at the time of divorce.
  • After the divorce, mom moves to Tennessee and dad moves to Texas.
  • Dad has never been in the State of Tennessee.
  • Mom has custody of the child and files for a child support modification in Tennessee.

Does Tennessee have jurisdiction?

No, because mom is a current resident of this state. Dad has never stepped foot in Tennessee before. Tennessee law requires the petitioning party to be a non-resident of this state. Therefore, the mom would have to file in Texas, the dad’s state, to modify child support.


To be clear, the jurisdiction to modify child support is based upon the location of the parties and the child. If all parties reside in Tennessee, the jurisdiction will remain in TN. If the parties reside outside of the state that issued the current child support order, most likely the party seeking to modify the order will need to file in the state in which the other party resides.

This is one of the many complicated issues surrounding divorce & family law. If you have more questions concerning child custody or other legal issues related to your divorce contact Batson Nolan. At Batson Nolan, an experienced divorce attorney will be able to address any of your divorce, child custody, or child support questions for Clarksville, Montgomery County, Springfield, and other areas of Tennessee and Kentucky.