Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) limits the jurisdiction that can properly establish and modify child support orders and addresses the enforcement of child support obligations within the United States. In 1996, Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which required that states adopt UIFSA by January 1, 1998 or face loss of federal funding for child support enforcement. Every U.S. state has adopted either the 1996 or a later version of UIFS.

What is this act for?  This act addresses the need for the courts within the United States to determine what court can set child support and how these child support orders can be modified and/or enforced. 

For example, how does a court get jurisdiction over a “nonresident” to establish a child support order. The court can set child support against a nonresident if the nonresident is served within the state, if the individual submits to the jurisdiction of the court by entering a general appearance in a child support case, if the nonresident individual resided in the state with the child, if the nonresident resided in the state and provided support for the child, if the child resides in a given state because the nonresident acted to place the child in the state, if the nonresident engaged in sexual intercourse within the state and it is likely the child was conceived by that act of intercourse, if the nonresident asserted parentage over the child in the paternity registry maintained in this state, or if there is any other basis under the United States Constitution or of a given state allowing for the exercise of jurisdiction over the nonresident. 

Once a court sets child support and issues an order for child support then that court retains what is called continuing exclusive jurisdiction to modify and/or enforce that order so long as, at the time set for modification of its order, the obligor, the individual oblige or the child for whose benefit the support order continues to reside in the issuing state.   There are some complicated fact situations that could interfere with the issuing court’s modification.  You will need to see an experienced divorce lawyer or child support lawyer to address these complications. 

This act has become a very important law giving child support agencies the power to enforce and/or modify child support orders from other states.  

The UIFSA even provides for enforcement of spousal support orders it has issued. 

There is on interesting twist.  A tribunal cannot modify a child support issued by another state if the party seeking modification of the foreign order is a resident of the state where he or she is seeking to modify the order. The party seeking to modify said order must “travel” to the state where the obligor resides.  That is called the home-court advantage enjoyed by the obligor being sued for a child support modification. 

This can be very confusing law so seek the assistant of a Texas attorney to get help in setting, modifying or enforcing a child support order. Take your special child support problems to an experienced child support lawyer. Call us at 915-593-6600!!