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Seeking child support from an ex-spouse in another state

Earlier we reviewed the case of a mother who has spent 25 years trying to get her ex-husband to meet his financial obligations toward his two children. While the two live in different states, one federal law in particular does allow the enforcement of child support across state lines. Let's look a little more closely at how this works.

The law is called the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. There are a few different ways in which it can help custodial parents. One is in the case where the non-custodial parent is still subject to the personal jurisdiction of the custodial parent's home state. Here, the custodial parent can simply ask the court to enforce child support.

If the court no longer has personal jurisdiction, the custodial parent can simply go to a court in the non-custodial parent's state and ask that court for enforcement. Another option for a custodial parent is to ask the home state court to send the order for child support to the other parent's state, and ask that a court there handle enforcement. Finally, the UNIFSA also allows custodial parents to go straight to the ex-spouse's employer with a child support order and request garnishment of his or her income.

It's also important for Illinois parents with custody of their children to understand that, if their ex-spouse is trying to skip out on child support by moving out of state, they may be violating another federal law. That is the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. The 1998 law makes non-payment of child support to an ex-partner in another state a felony offense. However, as we saw last week, penalties like jail time or drivers' license revocation may actually make it tougher to collect what is owed. A legal professional can help formulate a solid strategy for enforcement based on the circumstances.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Enforcement of Child Support: FAQ's," accessed on Oct. 13, 2017

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