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Lake County, Ohio - Job and Family Services

Interstate Enforcement

    Interstate Enforcement

    The most difficult child support cases to pursue are those in which the parent obligated to pay child support lives in one state and the child and custodial parent live in another. However, all states are required to pursue establishment and enforcement of support obligations as vigorously for children who live outside their border as for those under their own jurisdiction. Federal law requires states to work through the necessary steps that lead to enforcement within specific time frames.

    State enforcement agencies must cooperate with each other in handling requests for assistance. However, it is not a simple matter for one state to enforce automatically the court orders of another state. Each state has an independent court system with varying laws, practices and traditions. Matters of family law have traditionally been under state and local governments, and in general, citizens are under the jurisdiction of courts where they live. Interstate wage withholdings can be used to enforce a support order in another state if the non-custodial parent's employer is known. When this is the case, weeks of waiting for court dates can be saved. With interstate wage withholding, the Child Support Enforcement Office in the state where the non-custodial parent lives will make sure that a wage withholding order form another state contains all the information required by their state laws and will forward it to the non-custodial parent's employer.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q. I know the address of my children's father in another state, and my caseworker sent a petition to establish my support order there. That was three months ago, and still no support payments. What's wrong?

    A. It may be any number of things: enforcement officials may not be able to serve notice on the non-custodial parent due to inadequate address information; if a hearing is necessary, it may take a while to get a court date.  Continue to keep in touch with your caseworker to resolve any delay or to provide any new information you may have.

    Q. As soon as the children's father is notified about enforcement, he moves. How will I ever be able to collect my support?

    A. Many custodial parents are angry when, after the non-custodial parent is finally located and served notice of the enforcement action, he or she moves on. It is difficult to enforce child support payments when the non-custodial parent intentionally moves to avoid paying. Try to be an active participant in your own case. Whenever you learn that the non-custodial parent has moved or has a new job, you should tell your caseworker as soon as possible.

    Fact Sheet:
    Interstate Action

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