Albany NY Interstate Child Support Attorneys
The law is constantly finding new ways to deal with the ever-evolving challenges of family law. One growing problem is the fact that so many people relocate to other states. Relocation can complicate family law matters such as child support and spousal maintenance. If one parent has moved, where are petitions for modification or enforcement rightly to be heard?
We understand just how important child support and spousal support can be, and how frustrating it is to continually be denied these crucial finances. Additionally, when a client requires a modification to be made, whether they lost a job or underwent another life changing event, it is necessary to work with an interstate family law attorney to ensure that these modifications can be made in a timely manner.
Laws Governing Interstate Child Support
The most important legislation that governs interstate child support issues is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) which is covered in more detail below. It isn’t, however, the only legislation governing this issue. Others include:
- Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act
- Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act
- Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)
The UIFSA governs procedures for:
- Withholding income for spousal and child support;
- Allowing income to be withheld without the need for a judicial hearing;
- Establishing paternity (expedited);
- Establishing, modifying and enforcing child support payments;
- Attaching child support to tax refunds;
- Placing liens on real estate or personal property; and
- Reporting arrearages to credit bureaus.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act
In addition, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act establishes criteria for fraudulent conveyance, fraudulent transfer, and procedures for voiding fraudulent transfers. In cases where an unwilling parent transfers property in order to avoid leaving it vulnerable to a lien or other withholding, the government can void the transaction. Also included here is the misrepresenting of income or the hiding of income to avoid full child support payments.
Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act
The Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act governs the enforcement of orders across state lines. Prior, a non-custodial parent was able to relocate to a state that would not enforce the order to avoid paying any child support whatsoever. This law prevented them from doing that. The law requires that one state enforce the child support order from another state.
Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act expanded the court’s power to enforce arrearages for child support that were not covered by the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act which only covered garnishments, levies, and liens for current and ongoing support payments. It allowed the courts to domesticate foreign judgments in the non-custodial parent’s home state allowing the judgment to become effective in that state.
Enforcement, Modification, and Other Issues
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) provides a variety of criteria that control where child support and spousal maintenance issues are decided. The application of the UIFSA to an individual situation can be very complex when it comes to child support modifications, enforcement and other issues. You should choose to work with an attorney who understands the various laws that govern in what state your matter is heard. Ensuring that the court properly determines those issues using the appropriate state law depends on making sure that the issue is heard in the correct state’s court.
What Does the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act Do Regarding Spousal and Child Support Orders and Modifications?
The UIFSA serves to expedite “interstate and intrastate proceedings involving child support or spousal support.” Or, its purpose is to ensure that all states comply with its jurisdiction involving the swift and full payment of child or spousal support. Specifically, the Act governs the following:
- Establishment of a child or spousal support order;
- Enforcement of a support order;
- Registration of child or spousal support;
- Modification of a child or spousal support order;
- Registration of a child or spousal support order;
- Establishment of who the parent is; and
- Assertion of jurisdiction over nonresidents, or those who live outside of New York.
Which State Has Jurisdiction?
Does the Petitioner Have Leverage?
It’s the petitioner’s choice unless both parents file support modification orders in their respective states. In that case, the federal courts would take jurisdiction of the case only for the purpose of deciding which state has jurisdiction. The court will make a determination based on the state in which the child has lived as long as they have lived there for at least six months. If the child has not lived in any state for at least six months, then the court will decide based on which state the child has the greatest connection to.
The petitioner has some leverage when they are the one doing the petitioning and the other parent has not had the opportunity to petition the court for a modification. In other words, the petitioner can force the other parent to go to court in their own state or they can force the other parent to come to court in the other parent’s home state. In many cases, the laws of one state may benefit you while they hinder you in another state. Your attorney can help you make this decision.
In some cases, the petitioner will file in their home state forcing the other parent to go to court in their home state. When this happens, the two courts will communicate with one another to resolve the dispute. The responding court in the other parent’s home state has jurisdiction and that state’s laws apply.
Which State’s Laws Benefit Your Situation the Most?
In cases where your own state’s age of emancipation is lower than 21 or support payments are calculated differently, you’ll want to know which state’s laws benefit your situation the most. You can be sure that the other parent will do the same. In that case, whoever petitions the court first will win. For that reason, you have to move quickly. Once jurisdiction is established, the other state’s courts cannot intervene unless the original petitioner moves out of state.
Enforcing Child Support Across State Borders
In 1996, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act’s child support enforcement was greatly bolstered. Unfortunately, child support can be incredibly difficult for many parents to receive on time and in full. Only 61 percent of fathers (and mothers) make their required child support payments, according to a study published in Journal of Marriage and Family and reported by Time Magazine. While mothers may be the party that owes child support in many cases, the majority of the time child support is owed by the father.
A study published in the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare found that fathers who fail to pay child support claimed the following reasons as to why they do not make their payments: they do not have enough money, they are not allowed visitation rights or are not allowed to visit as much as they wish, they have no control over how the money is spent, they claim that the child is not theirs and that they should not be held responsible because they never wanted the child in the first place.
Whatever the reasons may be, the law holds all individuals accountable for coming up with the child support payments that they owe. If it comes down to it, wage garnishing, a revocation of their driver’s license, and even jail time may be necessary until payments are made. Working with an attorney that has intimate knowledge of the UIFSA’s Child Support Enforcement regulations is paramount to receiving what you and your child are owed.