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UIFSA helps Tennessee enforce child support orders out of state

After a divorce many people choose to relocate to another state in order to pursue their goals in life. Such relocation may not be a major issue if the divorcing couple is childless but if a divorcing couple has children, obtaining financial support for the children has often been a concern. In order to ensure that children do not face financial difficulties when parents are in different states, Tennessee has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act drafted by the Uniform Law Commission.

The purpose of the UIFSA is to aid states in establishing and enforcing family support orders, such child support, when the two parents are in different states. For example, the UIFSA enables another state to establish and enforce a child support order once issued by a Tennessee court without navigating through Tennessee's legal system. Similarly, Tennessee courts are also empowered to establish and enforce a child support order issued by a court in another state without navigating that state's legal system.

In order to enforce a child support order with the help of the UIFSA, a custodial parent must provide the local child support enforcement agency with accurate and up-to-date information pertaining to that order. The local child support enforcement agency then regularly follows up with its counterpart in the other state to obtain the latest status of the custodial parent's request. Since most child support agencies deal with many such cases, it is important to provide proper information because insufficient or inadequate information can cause delays.

The UIFSA also empowers Tennessee's child support office to withhold income for a delinquent non-custodial parent in another state if that parent is not paying timely child support. However, for income withholding in other states, it is necessary for that other state to pass the income withholding portion of the UISFA. In its absence, Tennessee's child support office must send a petition for child support enforcement and income withholding to that other state's child support office. Additionally, the UIFSA also make it possible for fathers and mothers to establish paternity across state lines.

Source: Tennessee Department of Human Services, "Tennessee Child Support Handbook," Accessed on Feb. 5, 2015

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