The Texas Uifsa Dueling States Child Support Orders
The Texas UIFSA: Dueling States’ Child Support Orders
Sometimes it can be hard enough to get child support out of your son or daughter’s other parent even when the other parent lives nearby. Imagine the difficulty if your ex lives in another state.
Because of the challenges of distance, differences among the states’ family laws and the legal tangle when more than one states’ courts issue child support orders concerning the same parent and child, federal law requires that all states, including Texas, adopt the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, often referred to as the UIFSA.
The UIFSA provides an interstate system of child support order enforcement so that children are not deprived of the material support of absent parents. Child support payments can be crucial to fund a child’s basic needs while living with the other parent. Whether or not child support is coming in can also make a huge difference in quality of life issues for the household in which the child lives.
The UIFSA establishes an elaborate system of rules that govern how states (and their respective court systems) are to cooperate in getting proper child support to parents with custody of their kids when the other parents live in different states. Matters covered by the Act include:
Establishment of a child support order (or determining paternity, if necessary) for the first time when none have yet been entered
Determination of which child support order is controlling when more than one are in force in competing jurisdictions
Registration of one state’s order (the “initiating state”) in another state (the “responding state”), including notice to all parties of the registration request and opportunity to challenge the registration at a hearing
Enforcement of a controlling child support order such as by garnishing an out-of-state parent’s wages
Further state enforcement measures like imposing jail on the parent who is not paying child support
Modification of a child support order to reflect changed family circumstances, usually because of fluctuation in income or needs
The UIFSA is a complex, but important, mechanism for seeing that kids get the money they need from both parents. For most people, however, it would be hard to try to take advantage of its enforcement provisions without assistance.
The Attorney General of Texas is the official state child support enforcement agency that provides through its Child Support Division certain child support collection services to members of the public involving situations not only when parents both live in Texas, but also when parents make their residences in other states or countries.
Experienced private Texas child support attorneys also assist their clients in establishing, collecting and modifying child support orders, including in situations where at least one of the parties resides outside the borders of Texas. Knowledgeable family lawyers also defend noncustodial parents who feel they are facing unfair child support orders.