Interstate Child Support Disputes

Interstate Child Support Disputes: The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

Child support disputes between parents who live in different states are governed by a complex set of rules set forth in the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), found at Chapter 769 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The UIFSA rules govern which state has authority to set child support, which state has authority to modify a child support order, and how to enforce a child support order issued in another state.

While there are many permutations to these cases, two principles generally govern. First, if you are filing to establish an initial child support order, you generally have to file in the state where the other party resides. This requirement is intended to prevent a parent from moving to a state for the purpose of taking advantage of that state’s child support laws (“forum shopping”). Secondly, once a child support order has been established, you generally have to return to that state for modification of child support.

Interstate child support disputes often are accompanied by interstate child placement/custody disputes. Logically, when there are placement/custody and child support disputes within a family, you would expect that a single court in a single state would address both sets of issues. A different statute, however – the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act – governs interstate placement and custody disputes. As a result, it is not unusual that parents have to litigate child support in one state and placement and custody in another state.

The attorneys at Wessel, Lehker & Fumelle have substantial experience working through these intricate statutes and achieving good results. During your initial free consultation we can evaluate your situation and help you know where your case should proceed.