How does the law treat parents who live in different states but have to pay child support? It is more complicated and difficult, but laws exist to deal with this situation. All states have enacted some form of the Uniform Interstate Child Support Act (UIFSA) which establishes procedures to be followed for child support enforcement across state lines.
All states have a Child Support Enforcement (CSE) agency. The enforcement process begins with the custodial parent sending the child support order to the Central Registry of the CSE agency. There, the order is verified and reviewed to be sure all relevant information has been provided. It is then sent to the local court in the jurisdiction where the noncustodial parent lives and enforcement procedures are initiated.
The UIFSA acts in a similar fashion to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This means that the law of the jurisdiction which issued the child support order must be followed by the state where the non-custodial parent lives.
If the non-custodial parent does not pay, any collection procedure available in the state that ordered support will be enforced by the out-of-state court. This includes wage garnishment if the employer can be located. Personal property, like cars and jewelry, can be seized and liens can be placed on real estate owned by the noncustodial parent. If the parent misses child support payments, this will also be reported to credit bureaus.
There are other provisions to the UIFSA that may help custodial parents collect support and nuances that may assist noncustodial parents with modification of support orders if there has been a change of circumstances.
Experienced child support enforcement attorneys who are familiar with the UIFSA requirements can assist either a custodial or noncustodial parent with child support issues.