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How to Collect Interstate Child Support

Learn About the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)


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Often times, a parent may move and seek to enforce or modify child or spousal support, created in another state. The question becomes, which order is enforceable, if any? The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which has been adopted by most states, was established to respond to this specific question. Here's what you need to know to merge multiple support orders into one, enforceable order.

Originating State

The state that originated the child support order will remain the state with "continuing jurisdiction" as long as both parents to continue to reside there or agree to transfer the child support order to another state.

Current Residency

If a child support obligor moves or transfers the child support case, UIFSA gives a state the power to send a withholding notice, directly to a new state. The withholding order will specify the duration of support along with the amount and the frequency, amount to be paid in arrears, health insurance provisions, etc.

Modification of an Existing Child Support Order

In order to modify a child support order, created in another state, the key will be the state that has "continuing jurisdiction." If a party is still residing in the state that has continuing jurisdiction, that state, exclusively, has the power to modify child support. If both parties moved to a new jurisdiction, the new state has the power to modify a child support order. If the parents move to two different states, the party seeking a modification will file for a modification in the new state.

Questionable Paternity

Paternity must have been established, prior to enforcement of a child support order. If paternity has yet to be established, a parent should order a paternity test to determine whether or not child support is required. Generally speaking, courts will not hold someone responsible for child support unless he or she is biologically related to the child.

Parents who might be seeking to modify or enforce a child support order, created in a different state, have options under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA.) Often times, a non-custodial parent might forewarn a new state or a new employer in a new state about an existing child support order. If not, a court in another state has the ability to enforce a child support obligation, ordered by another state.

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