When Parents live in Different States
When parents live in two different states, cases are often more complex and the timeframes associated with case processing are often longer than when both parents live in the same state. In some cases, the law allows Arizona to act as though both parents live in-state. In other cases the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) must request help from the other state to establish paternity and/or support or to enforce a child support order. The case then becomes an intergovernmental case.
The primary legal tool for intergovernmental cases is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). UIFSA gives states the power to reach beyond their borders for the establishment and enforcement of support orders. It also allows states to enforce a support order issued in another state. If legal action is needed to establish or enforce an order in another state, UIFSA makes the process easier. Under UIFSA, state child support agencies are required to help each other. However, DCSS must rely on the other state’s laws, regulations, procedures and personnel to take action on the case. The other state may assess fees or withhold fees from the support collected.
If DCSS asks for help from another state to establish or enforce a support order, Arizona maintains control of the case. According to federal laws, DCSS is responsible for communicating with both the other state and the party who opened the case. Contact your local caseworker for case status information rather than the other state.