After divorce, it's not uncommon for one parent to move out-of-state in order to have a fresh start. Prior to the 1950s, child support orders were extremely difficult to enforce if an out-of-state parent deliberately chose not to pay. Enforcement procedures were established with the passing of the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA), but this law was problematic in that the responding court would only hear from the parent who was ordered to pay. In 1958, the Revised Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (RURESA) corrected this problem, but it failed to address the issue of multiple support orders being in place at the same time. This would happen when the paying parent moved from state to state, causing the recipient parent to register an order with each state. While the recipient parent was only doing what was required by law, multiple support orders resulted in legal and financial problems for the paying parent.
For the next forty years, these problems caused considerable headaches for divorced parents and the family courts. In 1998, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) sought to clarify these and many other issues related to the enforcement of interstate child support orders. One of the most helpful aspects of the UIFSA is the streamlining of paperwork between different states. Instead of going through another state's court system, recipient parents in New Jersey can complete the necessary forms online at the New Jersey Courts website at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/. They will, however, need to print out the forms and take them to their country superior court for further processing.
Another important facet of The UIFSA is the concept of continuing exclusive jurisdiction, which allows for only one support order to be in effect at any time. In addition, the court that initially handled the case maintains jurisdiction over the order as long as one of the parents or child remains a resident of that state. It's important to note that jurisdiction is given according to where the support action was filed. This policy was in response to the predicament faced by custodial parents when the non-custodial parent moved from state to state with the intention of holding up the court system. Jurisdiction can only be transferred to another state with consent from all the involved parties, or if both the parents and child have moved to other states.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act is an essential, but highly complex form of legislation. You may have also noticed that the paperwork is extensive, with no instructions on which ones you need to complete. The forms cover a wide array of situations, including establishment of paternity, inquiries on previously-referred cases, and separate kits for the enforcement of international child support orders. Knowing which forms apply to your specific situation requires legal advice from an experienced family law attorney. If you need assistance with establishing or modifying an interstate child support order, please speak with the attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C.