What is ‘UIFSA’ with regards to Georgia child support?

We’ve discussed the basics of how child support orders are established in the state of Georgia, and some of the policy behind the legal requirement that a child be supported based upon the incomes of his or her parents. We’ve also talked about how sometimes conditions change that may affect a child support order in one way or another. One of these conditions is one parent moving out of state. What happens when a parent of a child in Georgia leaves the state either before or after a child support order is entered by a court?

The federal government has long had statutes that were meant to make it easier for custodial parents or state actors to collect child support from parents who live somewhere else. In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed a law, as part of a larger omnibus act, known as the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This law modified some of the earlier federal statutes on this issue, and every state in the country has now adopted its provisions, including Georgia.

UIFSA is at its heart a jurisdictional law. It basically allows state courts to have “long-arm” jurisdiction over individuals who reside elsewhere, as long as that person had sufficient contact with the court’s state. This sufficient contact under a law like UIFSA generally means having had sexual relations in the state that resulted in a child, living with the child in the state, directing the child to reside in the state, registering as a putative father in the state or otherwise accepting jurisdiction.

While UIFSA is a very complicated statute and covers many areas, its basic upshot is that it allows child support orders to be entered against non-custodial parents living outside Georgia, as well as allowing those orders to be enforced by the courts in the state where the non-paying parent may reside. People with questions about how to pursue child support from a child’s biological parent may wish to consider consulting a Georgia family law attorney.

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