When Should a Child Support Case Be Transferred to a Different State?

How to Transfer a Child Support Case to Another State | How to Register a Different State’s Child Support Order in Illinois

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will explain how to transfer a child support case to another state.  We will discuss when child support cases should be transferred to a different state for modification or enforcement, how to register another state’s child support order in Illinois for enforcement, and how to transfer a child support case to Illinois for modification.

For an overview of Illinois child support law, check out our article: Illinois Child Support 2019.

Transfer child support to another state, chid support across state lines

When Should a Child Support Case Be Transferred to a Different State?

Child support was created to ensure the well-being of the children after the divorce of the parents. In 2017, Illinois adopted an “income shares” model for child support in which both parties have a shared obligation for providing support.

In 1992, the Uniform Law Conference in the United States created the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) to provide uniform accommodations in situations where a parent moves to a different state after a child support order has been put into place. The UIFSA was adopted by all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The act has been amended and refined over the years. As of 2014, all states have some version of the law integrated into the state law and core provisions of the act remain consistent among all jurisdictions.

According to the UIFSA, only one valid child support order can be in place at any given time. The child’s home state is where the order is typically first initiated. After the support order has been established, the issuing state retains its jurisdiction of the case unless there is good reason to transfer the case to a different state.  This typically occurs when both parents move out of the state and one of the parents seeks to modify the child support obligation contained in the order.  At this point the state to which the case is transferred would have jurisdiction over the case, and the initial state would lose jurisdiction. If the case is improperly open in multiple states at the same time, the issuing state has priority over the order.

The UIFSA was created so states can effectively communicate and adhere to the original court order, and transfer it when necessary. If the noncustodial parent moves to a new state, for example, it is possible that nothing needs to change with respect to the child support order and which state handles it. If the parent fails to continue providing support, however, it can be necessary for the second state to become involved for enforcement purposes.  In this case the state that originally issued the child support order would retain continuing exclusive jurisdiction to modify the child support order.  The party seeking enforce the original state’s order would simply register the original state’s order in the obligor’s new state of residence for the purpose of enforcement, rather than transferring the entire case to the new state.  Under the Act, states must work together to enforce and modify child support orders that exist to serve the best interest of the children involved.

To learn more about which state has jurisdiction over a child support case for the purposes of initiating child support, modifying child support and enforcing child support, check out our article How to Determine Child Support Jurisdiction.

How to Register a Child Support Order in a Different State for Enforcement

The parent who has custody of the children and is the recipient of the parent will have to request the new state to assist in collecting the child support per the terms of the existing court order. If this is the case and the court order needs to be transferred to that new state, the UIFSA employs coordinators to assist the parent through the process of transferring the case to a new jurisdiction. Since the court that originally established the order has priority over the case, it must be notified and receive a request to have the case transferred to another state. The reason for the transfer, such as trouble collecting child support, must be explicitly explained and the exact location of where the case is to be transferred must also be provided. The UIFSA coordinators are there to ensure the correct facilitation of this process.

How to Register a Child Support Order For Enforcement In Illinois

A different state’s child support or income withholding order can be registered in Illinois by sending the following documentation to the clerk of court in a county that has personal jurisdiction over the other party:

  • A letter to the court requesting registration and enforcement;
  • Two copies, one of which must be certified, of the order you seek to register;
  • A sworn statement by the person seeking registration or a certified statement by the custodian of the relevant records show the amount of any back child support owed;
  • Certain identifying information about the obligor and his or her assets;
  • The name and address of the obligee.  

If the above documentation is properly submitted, the clerk of court will register the foreign order and it will be enforceable as if it were an Illinois child support order.  

How to Transfer a Child Support Case to Illinois for Modification

If one of the parties seeks to transfer a child support order from a different state to Illinois so that Illinois courts may modify the order, he or she must submit all of the documentation that he or she would have to submit in order to register the order for enforcement along with a petition for modification.

Illinois may modify a child support order in a different state if:

  • Both parents and the child no longer live in the state that issued the original child support order and Illinois has personal jurisdiction over the respondent; or
  • The child resides in Illinois and all of the parties have consented to the transfer of the case to Illinois.  

Illinois may not modify any aspect of the child support order that could not be modified under the law of the original state.  In addition, the original order and the law of the original state control the duration of child support obligations.  

For more on child support modification, check out our article Illinois Child Support Modification Explained.

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How to Register a Child Support Order in a Different State for Enforcement

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