CS 155 Choice of Law

10/96 Revised 05/03/16 Training Completed 07/15/15

U.C.A. 78B-14-303, 78B-14-604



Statutory Authority


Pursuant to Utah Code Annotated (U.C.A.) 78B-14-303.  Application of law of state:

“Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a responding tribunal of this state shall: (1) apply the procedural and substantive law generally applicable to similar proceedings originating in this state and may exercise all powers and provide all remedies available in those proceedings; and

(2) determine the duty of support and the amount payable in accordance with the law and support guidelines of this state.


Along with U.C.A. 78B-14-604 Choice of law provides further clarification regarding which state’s law applies.  For more information, refer to the appropriate sections below.



Issuing State

U.C.A. 78B-14-604 Choice of law states:

 “(1) Except as otherwise provided in Subsection (4), the law of the issuing state or foreign country governs:

(a) the nature, extent, amount, and duration of current payments under a registered support order;”


The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) does not allow the payment of child support to be conditioned upon visitation (parent-time).  Always refer to the terms of the order or the issuing state’s law by accessing the online Intergovernmental Reference Guide (IRG).


To determine the age of emancipation for the issuing state, refer to the on-line (IRG).


The state issuing the controlling order establishes and locks in duration.  The controlling order can be modified, but duration remains the same. 



w     1990 – Non-custodial parent (NCP) and custodial parent (CP) get divorced in State A.

§     Duration of support is age 18.

w     1992 – NCP moves to State B.

w     State B issues a URESA order:

§     Duration of support is age 21.

w     2001 – CP and child move to State C.

§     Duration of support is age 19.

w     2002 – State B’s order is determined to the “initial controlling order.”

w     Duration of support is “locked in” at age 21.


Subsection U.C.A. 78-14-604(1)(b) states:

the computation and payment of arrearages and accrual of interest on the arrearages under the support order;. . .”


Prior to the determination of a controlling order (DCO), the law of the issuing state governs the computation of arrears and accrual of interest on arrears under that support order.  If there are multiple support orders, prior to a DCO, the arrears under each order, including interest, are calculated using the law of the state that issued the order.  Ask the states issuing the orders to compute and provide any accrued interest they want to have included in the DCO and consolidation of arrears.  If the other issuing states provide accrued interest calculations, include their figures in the consolidation of arrears, but if the other issuing states decline to calculate and provide interest figures, conclude the consolidation of arrears without interest calculations from those states.  Once there has been a DCO and consolidation of arrears, all tribunals must prospectively apply the law of the state that issued the controlling order, which includes its law on interest on arrears, current and future support, and on consolidated arrears.  This means that the law of the state that issued the controlling order will determine the interest rate on all arrears that accrued under it prior to the DCO as well as prospective interest rate on the balance of consolidated arrears.  For example, if the state that issued the controlling order does not require interest and a state that issued one of the “old” orders does, the issuing state’s interest rate will apply in the initial determination of arrears (prior to the final determination and consolidation of arrears).  But, once the arrears have been consolidated and the DCO is complete, no further interest will accrue.


If the state that issued the controlling order charges interest, you will have to update the case with additional accrued interest each time the controlling order state or the initiating agency in a two-state action computes additional interest and requests that you update the account balance.


Subsection U.C.A. 78B-14-604(1)(c) states:

the existence and satisfaction of other obligations under the support order.”



CS 155.3 Collection of Arrears and Statutes of Limitations


U.C.A. 78B-14-604(2) states:

“In a proceeding for arrears under a registered support order, the statute of limitation of this state or of the issuing state or foreign country, whichever is longer, applies.”


This means you must:


1.                   Verify which state has jurisdiction over the order and whether the order was ever registered in another state.


2.                   If the order is a Utah order (and has not been registered in any other state), the NCP resides in Utah, and Utah is enforcing on behalf of another state, Utah’s statute of limitations will apply.



§     NCP and CP are divorced and Utah enters a divorce decree.

§     CP moves to Maine and applies for services in Maine.

§     Because the NCP remains in Utah, Maine petitions Utah to enforce the Utah divorce decree (Maine does NOT register the order).

§     Because Utah is the issuing state and has not lost jurisdiction, Utah’s statute of limitations will apply for the purposes of collecting arrears.


3.                   If the Utah is enforcing another state’s order:

a.                   In situations where the order has been registered for enforcement in Utah, identify the statute of limitations for both the issuing state and the responding state;

i.                     Determine which of the two state’s statute of limitations is the longest; and,

ii.                   Apply that state’s statute of limitations to the case for purposes of collecting arrears.

b.                  In situations where Utah is enforcing an out of state order administratively, the statute of limitations of the issuing state will apply.



CS 155.4 Responding State Responsibility


Generally, the laws of the responding state govern all legal proceedings that occur on the case in the responding state; e.g., establish paternity/order, enforcement, etc.  Once the controlling order (issued by another state) is registered in Utah, the State of Utah must apply its procedures and remedies for collecting in accordance with U.C.A. 78B-14-604 subsections 3 and 4, which state:

“(3) A responding tribunal of this state shall apply the procedures and remedies of this state to enforce current support and collect arrears and interest due on a support order of another state or a foreign country registered in this state.

(4) After a tribunal of this or another state determines which is the controlling order and issues an order consolidating arrears, if any, a tribunal of this state shall prospectively apply the law of the state or foreign country issuing the controlling order, including its law on interest on arrears, on current and future support, and on consolidated arrears.”