Whether you are struggling to meet your child support obligations or you’re a custodial parent whose child’s financial needs have changed, you may be wondering what you can do if your ex is in another state. While it’s certainly possible to modify, enforce, or defend against an out-of-state child support order, the complexities of working with two different legal systems can make it difficult to know the way forward without the help of a knowledgeable lawyer.
For instance, you may have reasonable questions about when a support order can be modified, who can request a modification, and which court has the final say. If your ex is seeking modification or enforcement from out-of-state, you may be concerned about defending yourself. A family law attorney can help you navigate each of these issues and pursue a child support arrangement that works for you.
The dedicated Woodlands out-of-state orders attorneys of BB Law Group PLLC can help you with any aspect of out-of-state child support orders, whether you need to enforce, modify, or defend yourself against one. To discuss the details of your case with an attentive member of our team, call us today at (832) 534-2589 or contact us online for an initial consultation.
Modifying an Out-of-State Child Support Order
The first thing to know about modifying an out-of-state child support order is that the court that originally created the order typically retains the authority to modify it. This authority persists even if one parent moves to a new state, but exceptions may apply if:
- Both parents agree to allow a different court to assume jurisdiction
- Neither of the parents nor the children still reside within the area under the original court’s jurisdiction
Family law judges typically only consider modification requests to child support orders if there’s a good reason to do so. In most cases, this means a substantial change in either the payer’s income or the financial needs of the child. Either parent has the right to request a support order modification, but the request must be submitted in the state where the original order was made.
If you would like to file a modification request, you can contact the Office of the Attorney General in Texas or the child support enforcement office in the state where your child support order was created. An attorney can help you file a formal motion to request a modification due to your specific change in circumstances.
If you receive notice that your ex has requested a modification that will put you in an unmanageable financial situation, you have the right to express your concerns. A family law attorney can help you evaluate how the modifications could impact your finances and defend against unreasonable demands.
Enforcing an Out-of-State Child Support Order
If you are having trouble getting the money your child needs from an ex who lives out-of-state, you may need to initiate a formal process to enforce the child support order. Depending on your ex’s level of cooperation, this may be a relatively simple process or a challenging one, but fortunately, there are many ways you can go about it.
Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), courts and authorities in all states are required to help custodial parents enforce out-of-state child support orders as though they were created in-state. However, before you can enforce a child support order, you must be able to locate the other parent.
If you don’t currently know where your child’s other parent is living, you can attempt to locate them by:
- Asking their friends or family members for a current address
- Hiring a private investigator to track them down
- Working with a locator resource from a local child support enforcement agency
If you cannot locate your ex or if they refuse to pay child support, you can file a claim under UIFSA. To do so, you’ll usually need to hire an attorney or work with a local child support enforcement office. This will allow you to get in touch with individuals and organizations in your ex’s state that can encourage them to comply or enforce the child support order, such as:
- The other parent’s attorney
- Local courts in the other parent’s state
- Child support enforcement agencies in the other state
If the other parent still fails to comply with a child support order, you may have grounds to file criminal “nonsupport” charges against them. However, if their lack of compliance is due to an inability to pay, your attorney can help you pursue other courses of action.
Defending Against Out-of-State Child Support Enforcement Orders
If you fail or refuse to comply with a child support order from another state, your ex may file a lawsuit against you to enforce the order, or the state may do it for them. Enforcement order cases tend to be highly complex, and the potential consequences of a conviction may be severe. It’s best to work with an experienced child support defense attorney who knows how to navigate the process.
To protect your rights and ensure your child support obligations stay manageable, your attorney may use one of the following arguments in your defense:
- The court order that was in place when the alleged violation occurred was not valid in some way. For example, because the order was from a state that did not have jurisdiction.
- Your ex failed to satisfy any procedural or administrative rules in the process of modifying the child support order.
- Your financial situation prevented you from making your child support payments on time or in full, but you paid as much as you could.
Contact a Texas Child Support Attorney Today
Child support can be an emotional and consequential matter, so it’s important to work with a lawyer who’s both compassionate and highly skilled. At BB Law Group PLLC, our team understands the significance of our work, and we have the knowledge and resources needed to fight for you.
To learn more about how we can achieve the results you deserve, call us today at (832) 534-2589 or fill out our online contact form to begin your initial case review.