Generally the DC Corporation Counsel will file and prosecute a child support action on behalf of a DC resident and when both the child and the principles are DC residents.
However Under 42 U.S. Code ξ 654(4)(A)(ii), the District may bring a child support action on behalf of a non DC resident, a non US national and from a country which has not signed into Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (“UIFSA”) or any other treaty governing terms, that is, a non reciprocating and a non treaty nation.
According to the statute, the DC government has the discretion to bring an action against a DC non custodial parent from a non DC, not US national but a custodial parent residing for example in Philippines – a non reciprocating and also a non treaty nation.
In such case – the most effective legal argument against the DC courts hearing the matter would be through the legal doctrine of Forum Non-Conveniens.
The doctrine as codified in the DC Statute provides:
§ 13-425 Inconvenient forum
When District of Columbia court finds that in the interest of substantial justice the action should be heard in another forum, the court may stay or dismiss such civil action in whole or in part on any conditions that may be just.
Moreover, D.C. Code ξ16-4602.07(b) provides:
Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of the District shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant public factors, including:
- Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;
- The length of time the child has resided outside the District;
- The distance between the court in the District and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;
- The relative financial circumstances of the parties;
- Any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;
- The nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including testimony of the child;
- The ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and
- The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the pending litigation.
There are also private factors to consider as was detailed first in Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, a US Supreme court case, which specifically details:
Important considerations are the relative ease of access to sources of proof; availability of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling, and the cost of obtaining attendance of willing, witnesses; possibility of view of premises if view would be appropriate to the action; and all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive.
There may also be questions as to the enforceability of a judgment if one is obtained. The court will weigh relative advantages and obstacles to fair trial. It is often said that the plaintiff may not, by choice of an inconvenient forum, “vex,” “harass,” or “oppress” the defendant by inflicting upon him expense or trouble not necessary to his own right to pursue his remedy.
The child support statute, guidelines and the relevant case law can be complicated and tasking – it is imperative to engage legal counsel with an extensive experience in this area of the law.
Contact our Washington DC Family Lawyer/Washington DC Child Support Lawyer today to discuss your case.