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Enforcing a Colorado Child Support Order across State Lines

Thursday, 10 September 2009

We’ve all heard of cases where a non-custodial parent moves out of state to escape a child support obligation but, thankfully, statutes are in place to make it very difficult for a parent to run away from a support order.  However, in order to enforce a child support order in another state, the court must establish the proper authority for them to act.

Ideally, the moving parent will give all parties adequate notice of a move, and qualify under a state statute that governs the court’s authority to enforce their court order, but it doesn’t always happen this way. Known as “establishing jurisdiction”, this issue can become quite complex in cases where the parties involved have children living in another state.  If the support-obligated parent does not give prior notice of the move, jurisdiction can still be established, but it will require filing a petition under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). 

The primary impact of UIFSA in enforcing child support is to prevent a non-paying parent from avoiding their obligation by leaving the state of original jurisdiction.  Through UIFSA, remedies for enforcement are available to the party who is owed child support, including contempt of court, but the obligated parent must first establish residency in another state prior to the time of filing. 

Another form of jurisdiction, known as personal jurisdiction, is also required before the case can proceed.  In Colorado, obtaining personal jurisdiction, the individual owing support must have either been served with a summons within the state of Colorado, have lived in Colorado while supporting a child in Colorado, filed a response to the original pleading, or have a variety of other contacts within the state. 

Consider consulting with a Colorado Springs child support lawyer to obtain proper subject matter and personal jurisdiction.  Without these, a court cannot hear your case.  However, in certain cases where jurisdiction cannot be established over a non-resident, UIFSA will authorize enforcement actions to collect child support in the state where the obligated parent lives. 

Once the UIFSA jurisdiction requirements have been satisfied, the Court may begin to enter orders against a non-resident party to collect child support, including modifications, medical insurance provisions for the child, and the collection of arrearages. 

Before embarking on an interstate child support enforcement action, it makes sense to seek advice from a Colorado Springs child support lawyer. 

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