Interstate Child Support

Any time parents are residing in two different states, the support cases involving them become more complicated and the time it takes for case processing is longer than when both parents are residing in the same state. Sometimes, laws give Colorado the authority to handle these interstate cases the same way as an in-state case. In other situations, the county Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU) must ask for help from the other state to set up or enforce a child support order or establish paternity.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which was adopted by Colorado, is the primary legal tool for these interstate cases. The UIFSA grants states the ability to go beyond state lines to set up and enforce orders for child support, and it permits a state to enforce a child support order that comes from a different state. When you need legal action to set up or enforce an order from a different state, UIFSA takes some of the complexity out of the process, as the child support agencies in the state have to help each other out. However, it’s important to note that the county CSEU has to rely on the legal aspects of and personnel in the other state to take action in the case, and the other state may also assess fees or withhold those fees from the support it collects.

When a Colorado CSEU requests assistance from a different state to establish or enforce a child support order, the local agency keeps control over the case. According to federal laws, that CSEU is responsible for communicating with the party who opened the case and the other state. This means your county CSEU will speak to you about your case and where it stands and handle all the details and formalities in the state where the other parent now lives.

 

The age of emancipation in Colorado

When your child support order is issued in Colorado, its rules for emancipation apply to the case. Unless the court determines the child is emancipated for another reason, it occurs and the child support ends when the child turns 19. However, this does not apply if the child is still going to high school or is in an equivalent program when he or she reaches that age. In that case, the support continues until the end of the month after graduation or until the child turns 21, whichever happens first. Note that support can continue beyond the age of 19 if both parents have an agreement stating that in writing or if the child is physically or mentally disabled and the court orders continued support.

 

Case status and court order copies

If you need a certified copy of a court order from another state, you need to contact the clerk of the court that issued the order. A fee may apply, and this varies by court. Contact the court that issued the order to determine their process for copy requests and their fees.

To get an update on your case status, you need to speak to the state in which you requested child support services. If your case is open through a county CSEU, speak to your caseworker about your case’s current status. It takes around 90 days to open an interstate child support case, however other factors will influence how long it takes for you to start receiving money. These include whether you already have a court-issued child support order and how fast the other state is able to serve the paying parent with the legal paperwork.

 

Changes in custody and visitation

Be aware that the UIFSA only applies to support cases, and this is all the county CSEU is able to handle. If you have an interstate case involving custody or visitation, you will need to take that case to the court system. If you need help with custody or visitation and the other parent lives somewhere else, your case can get complex quickly. The experienced team at The Burnham Law Firm can help you with interstate cases, including ones that involve custody and other family law matters. Taking an interstate family law matter to court is more involved than it is when the other parent lives in the same state as you, so having legal help on your side can make the process less stressful and help ensure you’re working toward the best outcome in your situation.

Child support has a real impact on your finances, especially when you are relying on it to cover gaps in your budget after divorce or a legal separation. If your co-parent lives in another state, you still can enforce a support order in order to receive the support you need for your child’s expenses. Speak to the trusted and experienced team at The Burnham Law Firm about your interstate support case today.