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National child-support collections aided by 1990s legislation

Like everywhere else in the country, divorces in Texas frequently take a toll on children. Children often feel anxious and insecure, and they wonder who they will live with and who will financially support them. For this reason and to satisfy the goal of meeting children's best interests, divorce courts in every state provide stability by granting child custody to one parent and ordering the noncustodial parent to pay child support. The noncustodial parent is legally obligated to pay the support.

If the noncustodial and supporting parent stays in the same state where his or her children live, then collecting child support is relatively easy for collection agencies in that state. However, when parents lived in different states, problems typically developed because of differences in state laws. To address this problem, in the mid-1990s Congress made federal funding for some programs contingent on a state's adoption of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which eases collection of child support across state boundaries. Every state complied, and over the years a series of Congressional amendments, along with revisions in state laws, have created a system that has improved overall support collections throughout the country.

UIFSA thus ensures that a child-support order in another state, say Maine, will be recognized in Texas and vice versa. The details of support orders can now be shared, and both states will cooperate to locate noncustodial parents and enforce support payments when required. Any modification of child support can only be done in the state where the support order originated unless courts in that state no longer have original jurisdiction.

Now every state has the power to ensure that child-support payments are collected and made as originally ordered by courts, even if a noncustodial parent flees to another state in an attempt to evade payment.

Source: TexasAttorneyGeneral.gov, "The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act," Accessed on March 4, 2015

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