Child Support


If my ex-spouse moved out of state, does the court enforcement of child support still apply?

Yes, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) sets our procedures for you to be able to enforce child support ( upon your ex-spouse or child’s parent in another state. Below is a list of your options:

  •  As long as your state still has personal jurisdiction over your ex-spouse or child’s parent you can ask that court to impose enforcement of child support on him or her.
  • If your state does not have personal jurisdiction over the child support payer, ask the court in your state to forward the child support order to the court of the state where the ex lives. Then have that state’s courts impose enforcement of child support.
  • Go to your ex’s state and file an enforcement of child support request in a court there.
  • Send the child support order to your ex’s employer, and ask the employer to garnish the amount from the ex’s paycheck.

In addition to UIFSA, there are a couple of acts that penalize deadbeat parents. The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 makes it a federal crime for a parent to refuse to pay child support to a parent living in another state. Currently this act is under scrutiny as going beyond Congress’s constitutional authority. So, Congress passed the Deadbeat Parent Punishment Act of 1998, making it a felony for a parent to refuse pay child support to a parent living in another state.

If you cannot find your ex, but think he or she moved out of state, certain legal procedures can help you locate him or her and impose the enforcement of child support. Government services both on the state and federal levels, can help you locate the missing parent.


My ex-spouse has fallen behind in child support. Can the court order my ex to pay the past due amount?

Yes. In fact, courts are very strict about the enforcement of child support. When a payer falls behind, the overdue amount is called “arrearage” and the payer is said to be “in arrears”. If a payer finds him or herself in arrears, he or she can always ask a judge for reduction of child support payments. However, only future payments can be reduced. The payer is still obligated to pay the arrears in full, at no reduced amount, and the court will reduce such payments.

If I lost my job, can I be relieved of my child support obligations?

As mentioned, a court cannot and will not excuse overdue child support payments ( However, if you lose your job you should immediately petition the court to reduce you child support obligations. Losing a job is usually a sufficient reason for a reduction or even a stay ( a short pause in your obligation to pay), since your income a variable in the formula of calculating the support payment. Be sure not to put petitioning the court off or ignore it, because you will still be held accountable for the child support payments at the rate the court ordered and will face consequences, even jail time, if you fail to pay.

For example Harry and Ron, both automobile mechanics, were very responsible fathers. They each had a $500 child support obligation to their ex-wives, and both of them always paid on time. One night, the repair shop they worked for burnt down and all the mechanics lost their jobs. Harry and Ron were devastated and worried that they wouldn’t be able to pay child support. Harry immediately petitioned the court to reduce his child support payments due to the fact that he had lost his job. He told the judge that he would be willing to resume the original $500 arrangement as soon as he found comparable employment. The judge stayed Harry’s payments until he could find sustainable employment. Harry soon found another job with a successful auto shop and was able to resume his child support payments. Ron, so devastated and annoyed at what happened and annoyed with the family court system, ignored his child support obligations and just stopped making payments. Ron’s ex-wife, Hermione, asked the court to impose enforcement of child support payments on Ron. Since Ron had no income, he ignored the court’s order. The judge held Ron in contempt of court and sentenced him to a jail term. When Ron got out of jail, he had no money, no job, and still faced child support payments. Had Ron been smart like Harry, he could have avoided jail and not fallen behind on his payments.

 Can I name my child support arrears when I file for bankruptcy?

No. Child support debt is one of those few debts that cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. Child support payments are intended to help care for children, and as such are public policy issues. Public policy is meant to allow parents to use bankruptcy to get out of providing child support for their children.

My ex-spouse and I got a divorce over a year ago. If I file for enforcement of child support now, can I collect for the past year?

No. Judges tend to only enforce child support payments beginning on the date they are requested with the court. So, be sure to file for child support as soon as possible. The earliest point of permanent separation is the best time to file, so that support for children can begin immediately.

Reference: Find Law

Kindly visit our Family Law and Child Support websites for more information on this topic.