How are support orders enforced when the obligated spouse or parent moves out of state? 10

About: Child Support

Ensuring that Child Support and Alimony Payments are Made

Alimony and child support orders are governed by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) of 2001 which allows claimants to require other states to honor and enforce orders that were issued in the claimant’s home state.

To access the benefits of the Act, you have a few options. You can file a request for child support enforcement in the state where your ex resides or you can ask a court in your state to forward the support order to your ex’s state and have that state’s courts enforce the order.

You may also be able to forward the order directly to your spouse’s employer and request that the employer withhold money from his or her paycheck to satisfy the support order. You can also simply file an action in a court in your state and ask that they force your ex to pay up. This may be a somewhat complicated matter due to the need to get adequate personal service of the legal paperwork on your ex in another state. The legal technicalities of interstate service can be somewhat frustrating at times.

Once served, your ex must make payment arrangements or he or she could face jail time as a result. In addition, federal law allows a variety of methods for procuring the funds for back child support including wage garnishment, seizure of property and even the diversion of a tax refund from your ex to you.

If the past due support is child support, there are generally state and/or local agencies which can help with enforcement and collection, even if it is an interstate issue. If the past due support is alimony, the government agencies have differing rules – some will help collect alimony alone, others will only assist with alimony collection if you are also trying to collect child support. Check with your state’s child support enforcement agency and they will help guide you through the process.

Obviously, these methods will only work if you know where your ex is currently living. For those who aren’t sure about the location of their ex-spouse, you can seek help from parent locator services at both the state and federal level.

In addition, your local District Attorney can help you use the legal system to locate your missing spouse.


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