final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 11-29740 Reemberto Diaz, Judge.
Ivko, in proper person.
Kenneth M. Kaplan, for appellee.
SUAREZ, LAGOA, and LUCK, JJ.
Ivko (the "Mother") appeals from an order of the
trial court granting Igor Ger's (the "Father")
motion to transfer jurisdiction over child support/visitation
issues from Florida to Pennsylvania, where Mother and
children now reside. We reverse. I
October 2011, the Miami-Dade Circuit Court entered an order
adjudicating paternity, finding Igor Ger the biological
father of the two minor children. The court retained
jurisdiction over child support, visitation and other child
welfare issues. In December 2011, an order on temporary child
support issued ordering the Father to pay child support. In
2012, the Mother was allowed to relocate from Florida to
Pennsylvania with the minor children, where they currently
reside. At the same time, the trial court issued an order
transferring the entire case to Pennsylvania. The State of
Florida, Division of Child Support Enforcement, filed a
motion to vacate on the grounds that, pursuant to Florida
Rule of Civil Procedure 1.060, the trial court did not have
jurisdiction to transfer the case out of the State of
Florida. The trial court vacated the order and jurisdiction
remained in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Pending at that time,
and still pending, is the Mother's motion through the
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act ("UIFSA"),
chapter 88, Florida Statutes (2012) for a determination of
permanent child support.
November 2016, the Father filed a motion to transfer
jurisdiction from Miami-Dade County to Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, asserting several bases that are unsupported by
the record on appeal. The Mother objected, seeking to keep
enforcement of child support in Florida. The trial court
granted the Father's motion to transfer the entire case
to Pennsylvania, once again specifically stating that
Pennsylvania shall have jurisdiction over all time sharing
and child support matters. The Mother timely filed this
reverse the trial court's order on two grounds. First,
the trial court cannot transfer the child support matters to
Pennsylvania where, given the facts of this case, the
requirements and procedures of the UIFSA were not met.
Second, and more importantly, the trial court has no
authority to transfer the case out of the State of Florida
pursuant to the rules of civil procedure and the family law
rules governing transfers of actions.
88.2051 of the UIFSA controls the outcome of this issue.
Section 88.2051(1)(a) mandates that a tribunal that has
issued a child support order retains continuing, exclusive
jurisdiction to modify its order where that state remains the
residence of either the obligor or the obligee, or remains
the residence of the child for whose benefit the support
order was issued or, pursuant to section 88.2051(2)(a), until
all of the parties who are individuals have filed written
consents with the Florida tribunal for a tribunal of another
state to modify the order and assume continuing exclusive
jurisdiction. See § 61.13(1)(a)(2), Fla.
Stat. (2017) ("The court initially entering an order
requiring one or both parents to make child support payments
has continuing jurisdiction after the entry of the initial
order to modify the amount and terms and conditions of the
child support payments . . . ."); Poliak v.
Poliak, 235 So.2d 512, 514 (Fla. 2d DCA 1970) (holding
the law of Florida is well settled that a circuit court
retains continuing exclusive jurisdiction to modify its
custody orders, including visitation privileges, until such
time as the minor children reach their majority); see
also Yurgel v. Yurgel, 572 So.2d 1327, 1332 (Fla. 1990)
("[J]urisdiction must be presumed to continue once it is
validly acquired under section 61.1308; and it continues up
until a Florida court expressly determines on some other
basis that jurisdiction no longer is appropriate, until
virtually all contacts with Florida have ceased. . .
."); cf. Trissler v. Trissler, 987 So.2d 209
(Fla. 5th DCA 2008) (noting statutory requirements for
Florida's modification of another state's child
support order similar to those required under UIFSA).
retains continuing jurisdiction to modify this child support
order pursuant to the UIFSA, but on this record does not have
the authority to transfer the issue to Pennsylvania absent a
showing that the statutory exceptions to modification exist.
The record shows that the Mother and children now reside in
Pennsylvania. The record also indicates that the Father
resided in Florida at the time of the entry of the child
support order and admits that he is still a Florida
resident. Indeed, the opposing motions regarding the
transfer of jurisdiction indicate the parties have not
consented on the record that the Pennsylvania court, which
has jurisdiction over the Mother, may modify the Florida
child support order and assume continuing jurisdiction
pursuant to section 88.2051(2)(a), Florida Statutes
(2017). See also Sootin v. Sootin, 41
So.3d 993, 994 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010) ("[T]he correct
procedure under UIFSA is to register the spousal support
judgment in another state for enforcement there. Even after
registration, however, the foreign court must send the case
back to the Florida court to consider any modification of the
order. Under the UIFSA, out-of-state courts may enforce
Florida spousal support orders but may not modify them."
Second, on a more basic level, and as in 2012, the trial
court has no authority to transfer the entire paternity /
child support case out of the State of Florida. Pursuant to
Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.060(b), the court may only
transfer to any county in the State where it might
have been brought in accordance with the venue statutes, not
to another state. See Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.060(b)
(amended March 2017 to mirror the language of Fla. R. Civ. P.
conclude that continuing jurisdiction to modify the child
support order remains with the Miami-Dade Circuit court. We
therefore reverse the trial court's order transferring
the case to Pennsylvania, and remand for any further
proceedings consistent with this opinion. The State of
Florida Child Support Division ...