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Rule 31: Registration of a Foreign Decree of Support for Enforcement and/or Modification under the Uniform Family Support Act (UIFSA), R.C. 3115.01-3115.59



 I.  REGISTRATION (R.C. 3115.601-3115.616)       

(A) When Applicable.           
    (1)  A foreign (out-of-state) decree or order that allocates child or spousal support, health care, medical support, arrearages or income withholding may be registered with the court for the purpose of enforcing its support provisions.  The act of registering does not necessarily vest the court with jurisdiction to enforce or modify said order. 

    (2)  A foreign (out-of-state) child support, health care, medical support, arrearages, or income withholding order may be registered with the court for the purpose of modifying its support provisions.              

    (3)  The registration of a decree does not vest the court with jurisdiction to enforce or modify its parenting or property division provisions.

    (4)   A petition for registration of child custody order as provided for under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) must be filed in a separate action pursuant to Rule 30 of these rules. 

(B) Registration Procedure.           
    (1)   A person seeking to register a foreign decree or order for enforcement or modification under the UIFSA must file a
Petition to Register Foreign Support Order with Notice requesting registration for enforcement or modification with the Clerk of Courts.  The Petition must be served upon opposing parties according to methods of service in Civ.R. 4 through 4.6.            

    (2)   Two copies of the foreign order and any modifications of the order, including one certified copy, must be attached to the Petition.  A certified translation to English of the foreign decree or order, if issued in a language other than English, with all content from the original must be attached to the Petition.           

    (3)   The Petition will receive a Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court case number as an original action.           

    (4)   The Petition must include:               

        (a)    A sworn statement by the party seeking registration or a certified statement by the custodian of the records showing the amount of any arrearage as of a date certain.               

        (b)    The name of the obligor and all of the following if known:                   

            (i)  The obligor's address and last four digits of social security number.                   

            (ii)  The name and address of the obligor's employer and any other source of income of the obligor.                   

            (iii)  A description and the location of property of the obligor in this state not exempt from execution.                   

            (iv)  The name and address of the obligee, and, if applicable, the agency or person to whom support payments are to be remitted.             

        (c)  A conspicuous Notice to the non-registering party or parties that states that:                    

            (i)  A registered order that is confirmed pursuant to R.C. Chapter 3115 is enforceable as of the date of registration in the same manner as an order issued by a tribunal of this state.                   

            (ii)  A hearing to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order must be requested pursuant to R.C. Chapter 3115 no later than 20 days after the date of mailing or personal service of the notice.                   

            (iii)  Failure to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order in a timely manner will result in confirmation of the order, and enforcement of the order and the alleged arrearages, and precludes further contest of that order with respect to any matter that could have been asserted.                   

            (iv) The amount of any alleged arrearages under the support order.           

    (5)  If the non-registering party or parties fail to timely request a hearing to contest registration, the registered order shall be confirmed by operation of law.  An 
Order Confirming Registration of Foreign Support Order shall be attached to the Petition for the court’s use.  The court will decline to confirm the registration if all of the requirements in section (B) of this rule are not met.           

    (6)  Upon registration of an income withholding order for enforcement, the court shall issue a withholding notice to the obligor’s payor pursuant to R.C. Chapter 3121.     

(C) Contesting Registration.             
    (1)  A party seeking to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order shall file and serve upon the Petitioner a
Request for Hearing to Contest Registration of Foreign Support Order, within 20 days after service of Notice.           

    (2)  If a timely Request is filed, a hearing will be scheduled to determine whether the registered order will be confirmed.           

    (3)  The registered order will be confirmed unless the party contesting registration establishes one of the following:               

        (a)   The issuing tribunal lacked personal jurisdiction over the contesting party.               

        (b)   The order was obtained by fraud.               

        (c)   The order has been vacated, suspended, or modified by a later order.               

        (d)   The issuing tribunal has stayed the order pending appeal.               

        (e)   There is a defense under the law of this state to the remedy sought.               

        (f)     Full or partial payment has been made.               

        (g)   The applicable statute of limitation under R.C. Chapter 3115 precludes enforcement of some or all of the arrearages.

(D)  Confirmation of Registration. 
    
(1)   The filing of the Petition and required documents constitutes registration of the foreign support order. 

    (2)   The registration of a foreign support order does not confer jurisdiction to enforce or modify the order. 

    (3)   A registered order confirmed by operation of law or after notice and hearing is enforceable in the same manner as an order of this court, provided that the court has jurisdiction over this matter. 

    (4)   Confirmation of a registered support order by operation of law or after notice and hearing precludes further contest of the order with respect to any matter that could have been asserted at the time of registration. 

II. ENFORCEMENT AND/OR MODIFICATION OF A FOREIGN SUPPORT ORDER 

(A) Assumption of Jurisdication. 
    
(1) Before issuing any modification or enforcement orders, the court will determine that it has jurisdiction to proceed. 

        (a) The court will not exercise jurisdiction if the requirements of R.C. Chapter 3115 are not met. 

        (b) If modification is granted, the court becomes the tribunal with continuing, exclusive jurisdiction. 

        (c) Specific affirmative relief will not be granted unless the registered order has been confirmed. 

(B) A Motion to Enforce and/or to Modify a Foreign Support order may be filed at the same time the Petition to Register Foreign Support Order is filed, or at a later time. The motion must be separate from the Petition. 
    (1) The motion must be served upon the responding party or parties according to methods of service in Civ.R. 4 through 4.6. 

    (2) The motion must be supported by a sworn affidavit that sets forth the specific operative facts that constitute the alleged non-compliance or change in circumstances.

    (3) A hearing will be scheduled on the motion. 

    (4) A Motion to Modify a Foreign Support Order must state the reasons the court should assume jurisdiction under R.C. Chapter 3115. The moving party must be prepared to demonstrate that the court has jurisdiction at the first scheduled hearing. 

(Effective July 1, 1991.  Amended effective January 1, 1999; July 29, 2013; June 19, 2019.)

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