Question: My husband has a child from a previous relationship. We aren't positive that the child is actually his. He is a resident of Arizona, the mother lives in Washington state along with the child. My question is this, which state , Arizona or Washington, would have jurisdiction to decide Child Support payments and establishing paternity?
Answer: Generally, under Arizona law, the WA mother could file a paternity petition here in AZ, even though neither she nor the child ever lived here. (A.R.S. § 25-802) Whether she can do the same in WA, and follow that up with a support demand in WA, are questions that only a licensed WA attorney can ethically answer. It would also help if you explained a little more about what types of contacts your husband had with WA before he met and married you. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) has all sorts of rules about when a potential respondent (such as your husband) has submitted to the personal jurisdiction of another state. By example only, you can get a general idea of AZ's version of those rules (see A.R.S. § 25-1221) But you must remember that the out of state parent with the child would use that state's version of UIFSA - not Arizona's.
March 07, 2007