How can I get child support if my ex-spouse lives outside of Texas?

The subject of child support is probably the most delicate one that the attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan deal with on a near daily basis. This is the case no matter if we are talking with the parent to whom the support is paid or we are talking to the parent who is ordered to make the support payments

The parent who is owed child support rarely if ever thinks what the other parent is supposed to pay is enough. There are always additional costs that arise during the month that court’s order establishing a payment amount cannot take into consideration.

On the other hand, the parent who is being ordered to pay child support has quite a different viewpoint. Not so much that they don’t want to support their child or contribute to his or her well-being, but that the parent who owes the child support has had bad experiences with the process.

Reasons why I’ve heard the owing parent express frustration in regard to child support range from losing a job and falling behind in payments to getting voicemails and text messages from the other parent complaining about needing more money or being skeptical that the other parent is even spending that money on the child.

Difficulties in receiving payments from out of state obligors of child support

If you are a parent to whom child support is owed you know how difficult it can be to get the correct amount of child support on time. This can be true even if you live across town from your ex-spouse or even around the corner.

The typical arrangement upon the divorce of parents is to have a Wage Withholding Order filed with the Court that a judge can sign off on.

This order instructs the owing parent’s employer to withhold a certain sum of money from their paycheck and to send that money instead to the Texas Attorney General (OAG). The OAG will then acts a third party that distributes the money to the parent who receives child support.

What happens if your ex-spouse lives in a different state than Texas? Not every state has similar laws when it comes to child support that we in Texas do. In fact, most states do not follow the Texas procedure for calculating child support based on a percentage of the obligor’s income.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act and its effect on Texas families

To compensate for the differences among the states in computing and enforcing child support Orders, all states in the United States adhere to and have adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).

UIFSA allows for a more streamlined method of enforcing child support orders from all fifty states in order to prevent a child from being deprived of necessary funds just because the state they live in is different from the state one of their parents lives in. No matter what their parents’ opinions are on child support, the child only understands that he or she needs to be taken care of by their parents.

UIFSA is fairly complex due to its responsibility to tie the laws of all fifty states together and to allow each state to “speak the same language” as a neighboring state or a state across the country in regard to child support enforcement.

Getting all the courts in one state to cooperate with one another is difficult enough as it is, but UIFSA is tasked with getting courts from across the country to do so. What does UIFSA actually cover? Here is a breakdown:

  1. If multiple child support orders are in force, UIFSA plays tie breaker and will determine which jurisdiction is controlling for future child support related cases
  2. Enforcement of a controlling child support order by being able to garnish the wages of an out of state parent
  3. Modification of a prior child support order due to a substantial change in circumstances in one of the parties or the child
  4. The authority to register a child support order from one state in another state. This is basically making another state’s order applicable in a parent’s current state.
  5. Establishing a child support order when none has been in place

A walk through of the most commonly seen aspects of UIFSA

If you need to enforce a child support order from Texas, but your spouse lives in another state, UIFSA can assist. A withholding order for support can be sent directly to an out of state employer just as an order can be sent to an instate employer.

The child support obligation is deducted from the owing parent’s paycheck. The parent’s new home state also has the ability to pursue collection on behalf of the Texas resident through court hearings, jail time, or suspending a commercial license.

UIFSA has created a set of rules for modifying a child support order if the circumstances have changed for either party or the child that is affected by the order. If either you, your ex-spouse or your child still reside in Texas, then Texas must hold a hearing on whether or not a modification of your child support order will be possible. If all parties and the child no longer reside in Texas then the proper state of jurisdiction is where the non-filing parent resides

Help with Child Support including UIFSA- The Law Office of Bryan Fagan

UIFSA seeks to make a complicated situation somewhat more straightforward but it is still difficult to know exactly how the law pertains to you and your family’s situation. An experience family law attorney can make a tremendous difference when it comes to figuring out the law.

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan understand the complex nature of UIFSA but more importantly know how important it is for our clients that their child support situation is handled with respect and competence. If you have questions about child support or any other area of family law please do not hesitate to contact our office.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Child Support Enforcement
  2. Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
  3. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  4. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  5. Texas Child Support Appeals
  6. In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
  7. Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
  8. Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
  9. Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
  10. How to get above guideline child support.

Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Kingwood Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Kingwood, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Kingwood TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan
Spring Divorce Attorney
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Houston, TX 77068
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