Ali v. Ali

A zero-dollar child support order must still be registered under UIFSA before Arizona can modify it

Do you need to register an out-of-state child support under UIFSA if neither party is required to pay support?

Facts and Procedural History

The parties were married with one child in California. The parties filed for divorce in California, and Mother and the child moved to Arizona while the divorce was pending. The parties agreed that Mother would have sole legal and physical custody based on a history of domestic violence. The California court ordered that California would relinquish UCCJEA jurisdiction to Arizona upon the entry of the divorce decree. Father then registered the California orders in Arizona pursuant to the UCCJEA.

Two years later, Father filed for modification of custody and requested that the Arizona court enter a child support order. Father stated on the record that California never entered a child support order. But after the order was entered, Father disputed Arizona’s jurisdiction to order child support.

Father cited Glover v. Glover, where the court of appeals held that a child support order must be registered to confer subject matter jurisdiction on Arizona courts under UISFA. 231 Ariz. 1 (App. 2012). The trial court denied Father’s motion to amend, and Father appealed.

Ruling

  • A zero-dollar child support award from another state is a valid order that, under Glover, must be registered in Arizona before it can be modified.
  • Glover doesn’t apply here because Father never introduced evidence of another child support order. Because there was nothing in the record to suggest there was an existing order, the trial court had the authority to enter an order.
  • Father may be able to motion for relief from judgment if he can produce the existing order (because a contest to subject matter jurisdiction is never waived).

Ali v. Ali, 1 CA-CV 21-0434 FC (App. Apr. 26, 2022).