How to Transfer Child Support to Another State

Even if one parent has moved to another state, it is possible to enforce a child support order. If a parent moves to another state in an effort to get out of paying child support, it is crucial that you understand how the court system works so you can get your child support order enforced. 

Generally, to transfer a child support order to a different state, a parent must file a petition in the new state where the other parent lives. The petition lets the state know about the child support order so it can be enforced by the new state.

This article will explain transferring a child support case to another state. 

What is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act? 

All 50 states have ratified the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). As of 2014, the Act’s fundamental elements are still the same in all jurisdictions, and every state has some form of it incorporated into its state law. The UIFSA was created so states could work together to follow and enforce child support orders.

Where Does a Parent Go to Enforce a Child Support Order When a Parent Has Moved?

When one parent moves and falls behind on child support, the custodial parent will first need to determine which state has jurisdiction to enforce the child support order. 

Generally speaking, even if one parent relocates to a different state, the court that issued the initial child support order still has the power to settle disagreements between parents. 

But if the noncustodial parent moves and the custodial parent tries to enforce the order in a different state, the court in the original state won’t be able to do anything about the parent who moved.

This is where the UIFSA steps in to help. The UIFSA helps custodial parents obtain enforcement of child support orders.

To understand the UIFSA, a parent must learn a few vocabulary words. 

Originating state:  The originating state is the state that initially issued the child support order. As long as both parents live in that state, that state will have “continuing jurisdiction” over the child support order. This means that the originating state can enforce the child support order. 

Obligor: The parent who owes child support.

Current residency: The UIFSA grants the “originating state” the authority to send child support withholding notice directly to the obligor’s “current residency.” This is the new state where the noncustodial parent has relocated.

When Should a Child Support Order Be Transferred to a New State?

If the obligor has moved to a new state and stops paying child support, it will be necessary for the second state to have the authority to enforce the order. The UIFSA makes this easy. Under the UIFSA, the custodial parent will not have to file a lawsuit in the new state. Instead, the parent who has custody will only have to register the child support order in the state where the parent who owes the money lives. 

According to the UIFSA, instead of moving the entire case to the new state and establishing a new child support order, the party seeking to enforce the original state’s child support order would only need to register the order in the obligor’s new state. Once the order is registered in the new state, it has the full weight and authority of the law, and the new state can enforce the order. 

What Happens if Both Parents Leave the Original State that Ordered Child Support?

The UIFSA mandates that only one child support order may be in effect at any given time. When both parents move out of state, the parents will not need to obtain a new child support order in the new state. Instead, the parent only needs to file the child support order in the new state. The custodial parent should file and register the child support order in the new state. Once this is done, the order will be transferred to the new state. 

According to the UIFSA, states must cooperate in enforcing child support judgments so children do not go without child support. 

How to Register a Child Support Order

To help parents through the child support order transfer process to a new jurisdiction, the UIFSA provides coordinators to help parents and make the process as easy as possible. UIFSA coordinators can be found at your state’s Division of Family Services.

The UIFSA coordinators are there to make sure that this process goes smoothly and that the child support order is registered correctly in the new state. 

To register a child support order in the new state, you will need the following information and proof. The information can be sent to the Circuit Clerk in the county and state where the other parent now lives to register a child support order from another state:

  • An application for registration and enforcement to the court.

  • Two copies of the order you seek to register. One of the orders must be certified.

  • If back child support is owed, a sworn statement by the applicant or a verified statement by the custodian of child support records is required.

  • Information identifying the obligor and their assets.

  • Name and address of the obligee. 

The foreign child support order will be registered by the Circuit Clerk. This will have the same effect as if the child support order had been made in that state in the first place. 

If you have any questions about transferring a child support order to a new state, you can call your local branch of Child Support Enforcement. If you still have questions, speak with an experienced family lawyer in your jurisdiction.

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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