An Overview of UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act) and How it Applies to Virginia

that if you have a minor child from the marriage, their needs will always come first no matter how bad the divorce was. For this reason, you are required by the circuit courts to pay monthly or weekly child support payments to uphold the best interests of your minor child, paying for his medical needs, educational expenses, clothing, food, etc.

However, at times, and this does happen frequently, the non-custodial parent (payor) leaves the state or jurisdiction where he was mandated to pay child support. And time both ex-spouses leave the state or city. This is essentially where the UIFSA comes into play (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act). In Virginia, this legislation was passed and implemented in 1994.

The Need for UIFSA

As a general guideline or rule, the circuit court that initially ruled the child or spousal order in its jurisdiction will maintain its jurisdiction on the matter. However, for this to work, at least one of the two divorced spouses must remain in that jurisdiction.

This way, for example, if the non-custodial parent moves to a different state, the custodial parent (who is already living in the jurisdictional state) can file a petition with the circuit court enforcing child or spousal support payment from the non-custodial parent living in another state.

What’s more, the custodial parent can also choose to file for a modification of the child support decree, possibly having the total amount payable increased. However, you need to keep in mind that UIFSA proceedings can be lengthy and very complex, which is why it is wise to consult with an experienced family or divorce attorney who can guide you through the process.

Understanding the Functionality and Purpose of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

Child support orders can be made, implemented, and enforced even if both the custodial and non-custodial parents are living in different parts of the country or out of the jurisdiction of the court. Though it may seem that the payor may potentially escape having to pay child support by moving to another state where the laws are not the same, the UIFSA ensures they don’t get too comfortable.

If both divorced parents have been living in Virginia for a long time, the UIFSA makes it possible for the custodial parent to file for child support payment if the non-custodial parent is living in Virginia or even if the custodial parent isn’t living in Virginia. One of the best things about the UIFSA is the fact that it streamlines the process of state cooperation in child or spousal support making it easier for the family courts in other states to create and enforce a child support order originally issued in another state (in this case Virginia).

However, it is vital to note that the UIFSA can only allow the opening of an active case once per case and jurisdiction. On the rare occasion that there are multiple UIFSA cases opened, the governing body has the authority to decide which case to pursue and which to leave for a later date.

Moreover, the UIFSA also has the authority to implement the rules and regulations for modifying child or support payment obligations based on the legal benchmarks of the jurisdiction that is ordering the support payment and the cities or states of residence of the divorced parents and children.

This means that even if one of the parents (usually the custodial) parent remains in Virginia, which is the jurisdiction that issued the UIFSA controlling order, Virginia circuit courts will retain complete authority and jurisdiction to modify those support payments.

The General Process of Filing for a UIFSA Support Order

To file for support enforcement and modification via the UIFSA, it is important to first acquire a notarized and authenticated copy of the out-of-state child support order. You can also attempt to acquire an out-of-state income withholding order.

The latter can help compel the employer of the non-custodial parent to withhold child or spousal support from their monthly paychecks. When you get a certified copy of your UIFSA endorsement, the copy will comprise a stamp or a seal, authenticating the legitimacy of the document.

Once you get hold of the out-of-state child support documentation, it is important to understand the jurisdiction you want to register in. However, if you’re living in Virginia with your child where the UIFSA law is implemented, you can file for enforcement registration with the district clerk of Virginia.

Child Support Modification and Enforcement Across State Lines

For parents who are owed child support payments and are aiming to leverage the advantages of UIFSA, it is important to first locate the non-custodial parent and authenticate whether the region of the US they live in has indeed implemented the Uniform Interstate Family Support legislation. However, a majority of the states across the country have implemented the UIFSA law.

As soon as the custodial parent locates the non-custodial parent and confirms the city they are living in has UIFSA, the parent owed the child support payments can provide the circuit court of the area the non-custodial parent is living in to start the support enforcement and modification process.

Potential Challenges to Keep in Mind When Pursuing a UIFSA Proceeding

While the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act is an excellent way of securing legal and executive help in ensuring the obligor pays you child or spousal support, it is just as vital to consider some facts that may potentially throw a wrench in your proceedings, especially when it comes to the implementation stage.

How? Well, imagine, for example, that the non-custodial parent proves that they can’t possibly make support payments due to a financial crunch. Or what if they prove that they had to switch states to find better employment opportunities but thus far have not been able to?

If these problems arise in your UIFSA case, it will fall on the circuit courts of the non-custodial state to evaluate and investigate the claims made by the obligor to arrive at a conclusive decision.

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