An initial child support action can be established in a divorce, an action for separate maintenance, a paternity case or a legitimation case. At least in theory, the amount of support can differ based on the type of initial case. That’s because it was once legally quite a major issue whether a child’s parents were married to one another or not. There have been a series of legal reforms over many decades to remove the stigma for the child. In the process of the reforms, laws for those relationships evolved differently. There are still some practical differences between a situation where the parents live together and a situation where the parents live apart that do mean justice is more likely to require a close look at the issue of back support in the paternity or legitimation context. However, increasingly, judges simply apply child support uniformly.
These legal differences disappear in subsequent modification cases.
Interstate cases are a great reminder of the complexities of venue in family. While interstate custody cases are governed by UCCJEA, interstate child support is governed by UIFSA.
Read more about child support and modifications on our blog.