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Divorce Law Explained: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

 

Many spouses seeking a divorce have a multitude of questions concerning paperwork, lawyers, fees and a laundry list of other things. When children are involved in the mix, the amount of questions and concerns between spouses increases tenfold. Each state has standard guidelines, rules and stipulations concerning custody and child support. However, when it comes to the matter of children and child support when parents are in different states, the rules change a little. There are a number of different laws and addendum’s that have been put in place to ensure that the rights of the children in these cases are not overlooked.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
The UIFSA was put into place to limit the jurisdiction that can properly establish and modify child support orders and address the enforcement of child support obligations within the United States.The act provides a new framework for states to use in collecting child support where the child and the parent reside in different states. It made it easier for state courts to exercise jurisdiction in establishing and collecting child support.

Under the legal definition of the act, support is broad enough to include child support, spousal support, health care, and related costs and attorney fees. More significant, the Act refers to a “tribunal” rather than a court, because its provisions apply to any administrative agency that has the power to establish and enforce child support orders. Many states have child support enforcement agencies with these powers. Each state’s’ Family Law Court will decide who is to rule on matters such as these.

Statewide Implementation

In cases where more than one state is involved in the establishing, enforcing or modifying a child or spousal support order, the Act is implemented to determine the jurisdiction and power of the courts in the each of the states. The Act also establishes which state’s law will be applied in proceedings under the Act. The Act establishes rules requiring every state to defer to child support orders entered by the state courts of the child’s home state.

The Act also provides various direct interstate enforcement mechanisms. This means that, it allows a caretaker parent to have an order mailed to the employer of the obligated parent, which will require that employer to withhold pay for the benefit of the child. Furthermore, it allows the caretaker parent to have an order mailed to an out-of-state court to get the other state to enforce the order. This is only done in severe cases or cases where a parent has failed to pay support for a lengthy period of time.

Child custody and child support laws are some of the strictest and highly enforced. When divorce proceedings take place, these are usually the issues that are highly debated amongst parents. The separation of spouses can sometimes come with an out of state move, for whatever reason. This Act ensures that any child in this circumstance, is protected. The best interest of the child is the priority of the court, no matter which state.

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