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Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
What is UIFSA?
The purpose of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) is to standardize the state laws concerning the establishment, enforcement or modification of alimony and child support obligations. O.C.G.A. § 19-11-110. As of January 1st, 1998, every state in the United States, including Georgia, has adopted this law. In Georgia, the following proceedings may be brought under the UIFSA:
- The establishment of an order for spousal or child support;
- The enforcement of a support order and income withholding order of another state without registration;
- Registration of an order for spousal or child support of another state for enforcement in Georgia;
- Modification of an order for spousal or child support issued by a tribunal of Georgia;
- Registration of an order for child support of another state for modification;
- Determination of parentage; and,
- Assertion of jurisdiction over nonresidents.
O.C.G.A. § 19-11-120(b)(1) et seq.
When is UIFSA Invoked?
Most often, the provisions of the UIFSA are invoked in situations where one parent wishes to either enforce or modify a child support order from another state or to seek a child support order against a non-resident of Georgia. In order for a Georgia court to have the authority to preside over these matters, the court must have jurisdiction over the non-resident. A Georgia court may obtain jurisdiction under the following circumstances:
- The non-resident is served with process in Georgia;
- The non-resident consents to the jurisdiction of Georgia;
- The non-resident enters a general appearance;
- The non-resident files a responsive document which has the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction;
- The non-resident resided with the child in Georgia;
- The non-resident resided in Georgia and provided prenatal expenses or support of the child;
- The child resides in Georgia as a result of the acts of directives of the non-resident;
- The non-resident engaged in sexual intercourse in Georgia and the child may have been conceived by that act; or,
- The individual asserted parentage in Georgia’s putative father registry.
O.C.G.A. § 19-11-110(1) et seq. Once a Georgia court obtains jurisdiction based on one of the bases listed above, that court may establish, enforce or modify a support order regardless of whether one or both parents are currently in the state of Georgia. O.C.G.A. §1 9-11-135(a).
As with child custody orders, many parents often wonder: “If my co-parent moves out of state, may he or she seek to modify our child support order in their new state of residence?” The provisions of the UIFSA address this concern. If a Georgia court has previously entered an order for child support or spousal support, that court continues to have exclusive jurisdiction or authority over that matter so long as one of the parties or the benefitting child remain a resident of Georgia or until all of the individual parties file written consents for another state to modify the order. O.C.G.A. § 19-11-114(a)(2); O.C.G.A. § 19-6-26. Therefore, a parent may not seek a modification of a child support order entered in Georgia in another state unless all of the parties consent to the new state modifying the child support order or if none of the parties involved are currently residents of Georgia.
If your child support or alimony action was initiated prior to January 1, 1998, which is when this version of the law came into effect, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act may be applicable to your case. O.C.G.A. § 19-11-40.1. If you believe this to be the case, contact one of our Atlanta family law attorneys for more details.