There are mechanisms in place that allow enforcement of child support orders of another state, called foreign orders/out-of-state child support orders, without registering the order. The party seeking to enforce the order would send specified information, including a certified copy of the order, to the proper support agency in Alabama.
The agency will review and documents and decide if it can enforce the order by administrative procedures, avoiding the need to register the order. If they can, and the other party agrees, then there is no need to register the order, if the other side does not agree to the administrative enforcement, then it must be registered in order to be enforced. This is not the same if one is seeking to modify the out-of-state child support order in some way.
Registration for enforcement is accomplished by sending a specified list of documents, including two certified copies of the out-of-state child support order, to the appropriate court. The court, upon receipt, will file the order as a foreign judgment. To act upon the order, there will need to be an action commenced enforcing the out-of-state child support order, at which point the opponent will have the opportunity to contest the registration of the order. The basis for contesting the enforcement of the registered order is that the court issuing the order did not have jurisdiction to do so. The order is registered upon filing, allowing the court only the power to enforce the order. With this form of registration, the court may not modify the order.
Modifying Out-Of-State Child Support Orders
For modification of a foreign or out-of-state child support order, the process is different, not in the registering itself, but in the court’s authority to modify the registered order. The determination is based, in part, upon the current residences of the parties and child and whether there is any further connection with the issuing state. It is a far more complicated determination than mere enforcement. And, once Alabama modifies an order, then Alabama courts become the issuing state for the order, with continuing jurisdiction.
These issues often come up with military families, or former spouses of service members. Please see our article on military divorces on specific issues on child support where service members are involved.
There is also an interstate act for addressing child support orders when the parties are in different states, which does not require the need for registering the support order at all. Surely the interstate questions are more complex than in state matters.
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Advocating For Fair Child Support
The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates works on matters of child support, paternity, and registration of foreign orders, as well as all other Family Law, matters in Alabama and out-of-state child support or custody. Our family attorneys and legal team are happy to discuss your situation with you, discuss your rights, obligations, and assist in any way that we can. Call us today at (256) 776-7015.