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Kevin O'Flaherty

Moving to another state and need to manage a child support case transfer? This guide outlines the essential steps for how to transfer a child support case to another state, providing a straightforward pathway to navigating the legal system with ease. With this information, you’ll be equipped to handle jurisdiction changes, document preparation, and everything in between.

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

Key Takeaways

  • The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) allows transferring a child support case only if both parents have moved and the issuing state no longer has jurisdiction, with only one enforceable order at a time.
  • To transfer a child support case, gather legal documents like certified copies of the original order and payment history, and file a petition for transfer with a declaration.
  • After transferring, the order must be registered in the new state to be enforceable, and it can be modified if significant changes occur.

Two kids hugging a woman and smiling

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

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

In 1992, the Uniform Law Conference in the United States created the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) to provide uniform accommodations when 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 initially issued the child support order would retain continuing exclusive jurisdiction to modify the child support order. The party seeking to 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.

woman holding toddler's hand

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 their assets;
  • The name and address of the obligee. 

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

Attorney signing child support case document

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, they must submit all of the documentation that they 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.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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