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Enforcing child support orders across state lines

One of the most trying moments after a divorce is finalized is when the ex-spouse who is ordered to pay child support decides to move to another state. Even the mere announcement of an intent to move can instill in the custodial parent intense anxiety about ensuring that child support payments arrive on time and in the correct amount. Fortunately, the California legislature, along with the other 49 state legislatures, has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act to help alleviate this post-divorce problem.

The uniform act is a group of legislative policies and procedures that are intended to ease the burden of enforcing a child support order in a state other than the one in which the original order was entered. All states have agreed to accept child support orders from other states as though they were originally entered in that state.

A California resident who is owed child support by a person living in another state must first collect relevant information, such as the name and address and employer. The superior courts in California are authorized to accept requests for child support orders to be issued in the state where the paying ex-spouse resides. The California court will forward a request for a support order to the proper court.

Each state must designate a Child Support Enforcement Agency to execute the order. A child support enforcement agency in the state where the payor parent resides can also aid in levying assets and garnishing wages. If the payor parent lives in California and the custodial parent lives in another state, an order can be obtained in the state where the custodial parent lives and enforced against the payor parent in California.

The procedures under the Uniform Act were intended to be simple, but complications are common, especially when the parents were never married. Anyone who wants to recover child support payments from a non-custodial parent may wish to consult an experienced family lawyer for advice and assistance.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support Enforcement under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act," accessed on January 29, 2017

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