Getting Your Spouse to Pay Child Support FAQ

My ex-husband moved out of state. How can I force him to continue to make child support payments?

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My ex-husband moved out of state. How can I force him to continue to make child support payments?

If you think your ex has moved out of state, you or the D.A. can use legal procedures to locate your ex and seek payment. Federal and state parent locator services can also assist in locating missing parents.

If you know that your ex-spouse lives in a different state, you can use the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) to enforce a child support order. Under this law, you have a number of options. You can:

  • ask a court in your state to force your former spouse to pay (but your state must have legal authority over your ex, called "personal jurisdiction")
  • ask a court in your state to forward the child support order to a court in the state where your ex lives, and have that state's courts and agencies enforce the order
  • file an enforcement request directly in the state where your ex lives, or
  • forward the order to your ex's employer, and ask the employer to withhold the support amounts from your ex's paycheck.

The Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA) of 1992 makes it a federal crime for a parent to willfully refuse to make support payments to a parent who lives in another state. However, this statute has been challenged on constitutional grounds (as being beyond the authority of Congress), and its enforcement is inconsistent. Possibly as a remedy to CSRA, Congress passed the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998, making it a felony to willfully refuse to pay out-of-state child support.

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