Q: How does the law handle paternity and child support issues among various states?
A: The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) provides a way to establish paternity and/or child support obligations and to enforce child support responsibilities across state lines.
Q: I moved recently from California to Ohio. I want to establish paternity to prove that my ex-boyfriend is the father of my two-year old son so I can start receiving child support. My ex still lives in California. What should I do?
A: Complete an IV-D application with your local child support agency to receive services. Services are free and available to everyone.
Your local agency will have you complete a UIFSA petition. The petition includes a “General Testimony” questionnaire that asks for information concerning your household makeup and your financial situation. Completing the General Testimony will make it possible for you to avoid having to attend hearings in California.
Your local agency will mail the UIFSA petition to California. California will then attempt to establish paternity and/or child support. Your local agency will be your point of contact during the process. If genetic testing is required to establish paternity, you and your child will be tested where you live in Ohio. If a child support order is established, then money collected by California will be forwarded to Ohio Child Support and then disbursed to you.
Q: I completed a UIFSA petition, which my local agency sent to Florida to establish that my child’s father owes child support. A hearing has now been set in Florida, and I want to participate via telephone. How do I go about that?
A: Let your local agency know that you wish to participate via telephone. Your agency will relay the information to the local child support office in Florida. The original version of UIFSA did not require courts to permit telephonic testimony, while later amended versions of UIFSA do require courts to permit telephonic testimony. It will depend on what version of UIFSA Florida is operating under as to whether you will be permitted to participate via telephone.
Q: I have a child support order from Nevada. I just received notice that Ohio is going to “register” the Nevada order here in my local county. What does that mean?
A: Registration is the process by which a child support order is filed in the local court where the obligor (the one who owes child support) lives. Ohio then collects on the order. This usually happens when the obligor to an order has moved from the state that issued the order. Except in limited circumstances, Ohio cannot modify the order. However, Ohio can take enforcement actions such as driver’s license suspension and incarceration. After the registration process has been completed, you will pay through Ohio, and Ohio Child Support will forward the payments to Nevada.
Q: My Idaho child support order was just registered here in Ohio. My child and his mother live in Idaho. I want to establish parenting time. Can I file for that in my local court?
A: No. UIFSA only deals with paternity and support issues. It does not allow for courts to establish and/or enforce parenting time orders.
Q: I have a child support order from Kentucky ordering my ex-wife to pay me child support. She has moved to Illinois, and I have moved with our children to Ohio. I want to adjust the order because of a change in my financial circumstances. Can I file a request for this here in Ohio?
A: Under UIFSA, because neither you nor your ex-wife now live in Kentucky, the state that issued the support order, then the state of the non-requesting party (meaning your ex-wife’s current residential state, Illinois) will have jurisdiction to modify the child support order.
To request a child support adjustment, you will first need to apply for services with your local agency by completing an IV-D application. Your local agency will then have you participate in completing a petition. The petition will include a “General Testimony” questionnaire, which will ask you for information about your household makeup and your financial situation. Providing this information will mean that you can avoid having to attend hearings in Illinois. Your local agency will request certified copies of your child support order from Kentucky Child Support along with a pay history. Your local agency will then send the petition to Illinois asking that state to register and modify the Kentucky order.
This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Montgomery County DJFS-CSEA Legal Intergovernmental Coordinator Thomas E.A. Howard.