Collecting Support across State Lines

An Interstate Case is a case which the parent obligated to pay support lives in one state and the person entitled to receive support is in another state.

In order to collect support from an out-of-state parent, the Local Child Support Agency will either refer your case to the other state for assistance or it will enforce the order locally, depending upon information available and the laws of the other state.

When a case is referred to another state or county, it may take six to nine months or possibly longer, for a custodial parent to receive support.  The other state may not be able to serve notice on the obligor parent due to incorrect address information.  If a hearing is necessary, it may take a while to get a court date.

Custodial parents can help speed up the process by keeping in touch with the Local Child Support Agency and providing any new information about the obligor parent.


A new federal model act, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), has been drafted and implemented by all states.  UIFSA is a comprehensive act that focuses on the establishment, modification and enforcement of child support obligations on interstate cases.

Many of UIFSA's provisions contain new solutions to interstate child support problems.

Modification of orders under UIFSA:

The controlling state is the state that can modify the child support order under UIFSA.  To modify a child support order under UIFSA, it may be necessary to determine which state has Continuous Exclusive Jurisdiction (CEJ).

Collecting Child Support (Out-of-State Parents)

Approximately one out of every three child support cases involves a parent who lives in another state.  Working on cases that cross state lines is not uncommon for San Mateo County DCSS’ and federal legislation exists to support these efforts.  By law, state child support enforcement agencies must cooperate with each other in handling requests for assistance.  It is not a simple matter for one state to establish and enforce court orders of another state.  Each state has an independent court system with varying laws, practices and traditions.