Interstate child support refers to situations where one parent needs to pay child support for a child who is not located in the same state as them. In the past, these types of situations could be tricky, as there was the possibility of multiple orders from different states being enforceable at the same time. Now, laws such as the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) set various standards for a more structured set of rules and guidelines for interstate child support situations.

All states have adopted uniform rules and regulations based on the concept of “one order, one time, and one place.” This means that an existing order in one state is valid and enforceable in any other state that either party may be located. Under the UIFSA, standards are much clearer when determining which order is valid. Child support processes that involve interstate issues are called “interstate actions.”

In cases where one parent moves across state lines, the other parent can still initiate and collect child support against the parent who moved to a new state. The ability to do this generally depends on how much information each party can provide courts and child enforcement agencies.

What If I Need a Child Support Order Modified across State Lines?

Either party can request child support modification across state lines. However, determining which state has jurisdiction, or authority, to modify an existing order can be somewhat complicated. Generally speaking, the UIFSA requires states to defer to support orders that were entered in the home state of the child. The laws of the state where the original order was issued usually apply to requests to modify a support order. This can change, however, under certain circumstances.

A relocation to another state may necessitate a modification of a child support order. This can be due to factors such as:

  • Changes in cost of living
  • Changes in expenses for the child’s schooling or daycare
  • A new job or a different salary

Requests to change child support usually do not affect other issues such as payment of spousal support. These other issues may be handled through different processes.

What If a Parent Refuses to Pay Interstate Child Support?

Depending on the amount owed, and the length of time that the support is not paid, failure to pay child support across state lines may be considered a crime. One of the main issues in enforcing child support across state lines is locating the parent who is in debt. In some cases, the whereabouts of the paying parent may be unknown. Also, the parent seeking enforcement of the child support order may be lacking other vital information, such as location of the parent’s employer or accurate information about the parent’s income.

In such cases, it is important for the parent owed support to provide child support agencies and court authorities with as much information as they can so that the agencies can assist the parent in obtaining the missing support. As with standard child support situations in a single state, there are agencies and professionals who can assist in collecting child support and enforcing child support orders across state lines.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Interstate Child Support?

Interstate child support actions can often be complex and may involve a number of different laws and legal principles. You may need to hire a child support attorney if you need help with interstate child support issues. A lawyer can provide you with legal advice, guidance, and representation for your particular issue. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit or appear in court, your lawyer can accompany and guide you through such processes.