Enforcing spousal support across state lines
Posted on 04/18/2017 at 08:00 AM by Regan Wilson
When marriages break apart, ex-spouses often obtain a fresh start by relocating to different states, which can lead to obstacles when the relocating spouse falls behind on their spousal support obligation. This problem is so common that the federal government enacted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act to streamline the ways in which states address the enforcement of foreign spousal support orders.
Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, an obligee spouse (the person to whom support is owed) may register the spousal support order in the obligor’s state and county of residence. Provided the court which established the spousal support order had proper jurisdiction over the parties, the recipient court must fully honor the order.
Procedurally, the obligee spouse should first find a family law attorney in the state and county to which the obligor has relocated. That attorney would then register the spousal support order in the correct court and it would be enforceable as if it were that state’s own court order. Enforcement mechanisms vary in each state, but typically include suspending the obligor’s driver’s license, garnishing the obligor’s wages, levying on the obligor’s personal property, or possibly incarceration.
Unfortunately, under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the obilgee or obligor spouse could not ask the relocating state’s court to modify the original spousal support order. The state that established the spousal support order would retain jurisdiction to modify (reduce, extend, terminate, increase) the spousal support order. For more information regarding enforcement or modification of spousal support orders, feel free to contact Regan Wilson.
The material in this blog is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney if specific legal information is needed.
- Regan Wilson
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