Custody can be the most emotional and contested part of any divorce. Child support often becomes the fuel to the flames in a custody battle. If the parties divorced when the youngest child was an infant or the wife was pregnant during the divorce, the custody and child support battle can last 18 or 19 years. These issues become even more complex when either or both parties move to another state. Fortunately, there are uniform provisions to address this topic and make a hard situation a little easier.
In 2014, all states adopted the 2008 version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (“UIFSA”). The UIFSA sets the standards for child support obligations, clarifies jurisdiction over parties obligated to pay child support, and provides avenues available for modification of child support and custody. While the UIFSA typically follows the children for modification of custody, the UIFSA permits a child support Order to follow the parent obligated to pay child support. Some of the most common child support modification issues involving more than one state include:
- Parents divorced in State A. The parent with visitation rights and an obligation to pay child support moves to State B. The parent with primary custody moves with the children to State C.
- Parents divorced in State A. The parent with visitation rights and an obligation to pay child support moves to State B. The parent with primary custody stays in State A.
- Parents divorced in State A. The parent with visitation rights and an obligation to pay child support moves to State B. The parent with primary custody moves to State B.
The best rule of thumb in all three of these scenarios is to have the Order for child support follow the parent who is obligated to pay. In each scenario, a state agency located in State B, where the parent who pays child support resides, would have the authority to enforce the Order requiring child support payments. For State B to enforce the Order in these scenarios, the parent receiving child support must register the most recent Order setting child support with State B. Once State B recognizes the Order, the parent receiving child support payments can motion a State B Court to modify the Order.
Remember: The UIFSA permits the registration and modification of child support orders with another state. Unless a parent feels the child support obligation is too low, too high, or the parent required to pay misses payments, there may not be a need to register and modify an Order. Each scenario must be evaluated based on its unique facts and circumstances to determine the best course of action. For questions, contact our Sioux Falls, Sioux City, or Omaha office today.