While your children will always tie you and your ex together, you will go on to live very separate lives. Often, those lives will lead you to live in completely different states and parts of the country.
But wait, if he lives in a different state, can he get out of paying child support?
Nope. Your child support can still be enforced even if you live far apart. The United States has enacted laws such as The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) that are meant to ensure that child support collection isn’t stopped by state boundaries, but we know that these laws can be completely ineffective at times. In order to collect what is owed to you, you need to be ready to do some legwork, or a lot of waiting.
Through the Courts
Interstate child support enforcement is an arduous process through the courts. In addition to having your child support order filed in your home state, you’ll need to file it with the state where he resides. Your home state, known as the petitioning state, has control of the order, but because it doesn’t have jurisdiction beyond its border, it needs the state the obligor lives in, known as the respondent state, to enforce the order.
The two states will have to communicate with each other, which can take a great deal of time, as you would expect of government agencies. If the petitioning state asks the respondent state for an update, it can take 45 days to reply. And their answer can certainly be that they do not have an update. There are a few methods the government uses to collect interstate arrears, such as wage withholdings and the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA), but they will all have to follow the same lines of communication to be enforced.
If you file your case yourself, or pro sé, you can get around all the waiting for states to communicate with each other and go straight to your ex’s employer to file wage withholding paperwork with them. This will, of course, be more work, but being in control of this means not waiting for months on end to get paid.
All this assumes that you know where your ex is and who his employer is, though. If you don’t, Athena can help you avoid a lot of sleuthing around by finding him, his assets, and his employer while providing you with the state-specific documents you need to collect your arrears.
Long Arm Statutes
Typically, you have to go through multiple states to collect because the state you currently live in does not have jurisdiction over the obligor. That is not always the case.
If your ex lives in a different state but still works in the state you live in, your state can claim personal jurisdiction over him, and you won’t have to register your judgment with another state. Even if he doesn’t work in your state, but he works for a large company that operates in your state, such Wal-Mart or Bank of America, your state can claim personal jurisdiction over him and the arrears he owes you.
The specific way long-arm statutes work, like most laws, will vary by the state, so know the laws for your state to find out if your case can fall under the long-arm statute.
Evasive dads will try all sorts of methods to avoid making child support payments, especially if they are in arrears. You don’t need to let something as simple as moving to another state be the reason they got away.
This blog has been written for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. For legal advice specific to your case, you should contact an attorney.