It is hard enough to collect arrears and enforce an order when all the parties live in the same jurisdiction.
To enforce an out-of-state order for spousal maintenance, alimony, support or child support, you need to know about The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Parties often need a legally recognized forum to collect either child support or spousal maintenance when the parties to the agreement or order live in different states.
People read the act and tend to panic. What on earth does it mean? It is really not too complicated – just like a basic jigsaw puzzle. Put together the different parts, and a complete picture emerges.
History and purpose of UIFSA
[sws_pullquote_right]Thanks to the Modern Law firm of Mesa and Phoenix, AZ, for this informative post. [/sws_pullquote_right]
UIFSA is a federal statute that applied to all the states. It is hard enough to collect arrears and enforce an order when all the parties live in the same jurisdiction. Imagine the legal nightmare if the parties engaged in endless battles over which state had jurisdiction. Parties could move, seeking a state that has more lenient or favorable laws. Enacting UIFSA prevented ‘forum shopping’ by out of state parties who owed payments
Whenever a law mentions ‘non-residents,’ it is referring to something in the law known as “long arm jurisdiction.” This gives local courts jurisdiction or power over an out of state citizen, when that citizen has “minimum contacts” with the state. The theory behind long arm jurisdiction is a party has received benefits or has sufficient relationship within a state, resulting in that party being subject to that state’s law.
How the Interstate Enforcement Law works
Issues may get complicated because two states are involved. Suppose a party obligated to pay support has missed several payments. A state maintains what is known as ‘continuing exclusive jurisdiction over the obligor to enforce’ the agreement or the order. The foreign state, where the obligor now resides, is known as the enforcing state. A state can transfer its support order to the enforcing state, so the enforcing state may obtain compliance. Once the support is transferred, the enforcing state has no power to modify the agreement, unless there is agreement from both parties.
For more information, please read the entire blog post.