The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
Determining issues like child support in a Florida divorce are rarely easy, but these issues can become even more complex when one parent moves out of state. Thankfully, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) allows for courts to enforce out-of -state child support orders to ensure that the child is properly supported regardless of where their parents are located. If you have questions about enforcing a child support order across state lines, call or contact the experienced Tampa family attorneys at the office of Blair H. Chan, III today.
How Does the UIFSA Work?
Generally speaking, a state court can enforce the laws within the state boundaries. This is known as jurisdiction. However, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act provides state courts “long arm jurisdiction” over child support matters, meaning that they can enforce child support orders across state lines, even when the parent paying support is not a state resident. The UIFSA has been enacted in every state across the country, which means that there is no safe haven state where a parent that is supposed to make child support payments can move to in order to avoid their financial obligations.
Under the UIFSA, the first state to impose the child support order retains continuing exclusive jurisdiction so long as one parent continues to reside in that state or until both parents agree to transfer jurisdiction over the child support order to another state. Continuing exclusive jurisdiction means that any requests to modify or terminate a child support order must be made in the state court where the order originated. Requests cannot be made to the court where the parent paying support now lives.
Enforcing Child Support Orders Across State Lines
The UIFSA also allows for a court to enforce a child support order across state lines, and there are many enforcement options available for a Florida court to compel payment for a parent in another state who falls behind on their payments. One of the most common options is the use of a wage garnishment or income withholding order. This court order requires the employer of the parent in arrears to withhold a certain portion of the parent’s paycheck and send it directly to the parent in need, regardless of where each parent resides. Another option is to compel the parent living in another state to return for a contempt of court hearing, where they must explain to the court why payments are not being made on time. If the court finds that the parent is willfully refusing to make their child support payments, they can incur fines and even face jail time in the state with continuing exclusive jurisdiction until payment is made. Other enforcement options include liens, sheriff’s sales, and suspension of state licenses with the assistance of that parent’s residential state.
Talk to Our Office Now
If you would like to learn more about how the UIFSA may impact your child support order when a parent lives across state lines, the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa is here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation.