Enforcing one state’s child support orders in another state


Many years ago I went a period of a couple years of not paying child support because my ex-wife was denying me visitation with my children. Needless to say, the child support arrears along with the interest charges has added up to a significant amount.

My ex-wife is now moving to a different state. Will this new order be enforceable by the new state or would she have to get a new court order to enforce my payment of the owed support?


Your child support obligation will continue to be enforced regardless of the state in which your ex-wife and children reside. The government has enacted a number of federal and state laws to ensure interstate support enforcement: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), enacted in all jurisdictions; the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA); and the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA).

The FFCCSOA and UIFSA interact together. The federal statute lays out jurisdictional requirements for state courts to recognize, enforce, and modify orders of sister states, while the state statute lays out the requirements for the state to make original orders, recognize foreign orders, and modify any outstanding order.

Under the FFCCSOA, a child support order issued by a court in another state must be enforced if (1) the issuing state had subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the matter and enter an order; (2) the issuing state had personal jurisdiction; and (3) the parties were given reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard.

Essentially, you can expect a court in any state where your ex-wife and children reside to enforce a child support order made in the original state.

I suggest that you seek further advice from an attorney. Cordell & Cordell has divorce attorneys in 18 states throughout the country that would be happy to speak with you about your case.


Trisha B. Festerling is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices family law exclusively. Ms. Festerling’s practice is focused on men’s divorce, child support, child custody, paternity and modification. She is licensed in the state of Wisconsin. Ms. Festerling received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a focus on Political Science, Magna cum Laude, from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She received her Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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