All state child support agencies have an office called the Central Registry to receive incoming interstate child support cases, ensure that the information given is complete, send cases to the right local office, and respond to inquiries from out-of-jurisdiction child support offices. Standard forms make it easier for state and tribal caseworkers to find the information they need to enforce a case, and to be sure they are supplying enough information for another jurisdiction to enforce their case.

With the enactment of the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, and the federal mandate that all states enact the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), interstate enforcement of child support obligations is improving. Tribes have not been required to enact UIFSA in order to receive federal funding for child support programs, as states have been required to do. However, courts of all United States territories, states and tribes must give full faith and credit to a child support order issued by another state or tribe that had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter. UIFSA includes a provision designed to ensure that, when more than one state is involved, there is only one valid child support order that can be enforced for current support. The law also includes a provision that allows a child support agency to work a case involving an out-of-jurisdiction obligor directly if certain conditions are met.

It has been difficult to collect child support when the parent obligated to pay child support lives in one jurisdiction and the child and custodial parent live in another. However, all state and tribal child support agencies are required to pursue child support enforcement, including location, paternity establishment, and establishment of support obligations, as vigorously for children who live outside their borders as for those under their own jurisdiction.

Interstate income withholding can be used to enforce a support order in another jurisdiction if the noncustodial parent’s employer is known. Under UIFSA, income withholding can be initiated in one state and sent directly to an employer in another without involving the child support agency in that state. Laws vary, and you will need to ask your caseworker whether this option is available in your case.

UIFSA has procedures under which an enforcement official (or private attorney) can refer a case to another tribunal within the United States. The laws can be used to establish paternity and to establish, modify, or enforce a
support order.

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