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Child support: International and interstate support orders

There are specific laws for determining and enforcing child support when parents live in different states or countries. As Minnesota child support lawyers, we understand these laws and how they apply in unique child support cases. This blog post is a brief overview of some of the state, federal and international laws involved in child support. If you are facing an interstate or international child support issue, we recommend speaking with an experienced family law attorney.

International child support orders

The main law at issue for international child support orders is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This Act allows Minnesota courts to enforce foreign court orders. Minnesota courts must determine what the foreign court's laws and procedures are - if they are "substantially similar" to the laws and procedures of the Minnesota courts, then the Minnesota courts can enforce the child support order in question.

If a parent needs to enforce a Minnesota child support order abroad, he or she must look to international reciprocity agreements that the U.S. has established with certain countries.

Interstate child support orders

UIFSA also allows another state's court orders to be registered in Minnesota for child support purposes. Other laws involving interstate child support include the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA) and the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA). Together, these acts determine which state has jurisdiction (authority to hear a case) over child support. They also require states to enforce support orders made by other states.

Generally, a child support case can be opened in the state where either parent lives. However, the state may need to work with the state where the other parent lives to ensure proper establishment and enforcement of that order, depending on jurisdiction issues.

Note: If both parents move from the state where the child support order was initially established, that state can still enforce the order.

Source: Minnesota State Bar Association, Family Law Forum, v. 20, no. 1, "International Child Support Enforcement and Collections," Allison Maxim.

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