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Custody and Child Support


Various state and federal laws protect rights of visitation, custody and support secured by court order. Federal laws include the Family Support Act of 1988, which emphasized enforcement of child support orders against delinquent parents. The act mandated that all new or modified support orders contain automatic wage attachment provisions, along with automatic tracking and monitoring systems for parents defaulting in payments. The Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (RURESA) (or its predecessor) has been enacted in all states, or replaced /supplemented by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act of 1992 (UIFSA). This law provides the process for enforcing child support orders against persons living in another state. In conjunction with this law, many states have developed parent locator services to aid enforcement.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) statutorily enhances the constitutional "full faith and credit" clause by facilitating enforcement of other states' custody orders, thus avoiding relitigation of custody decisions in the prior state. It requires that litigation concerning custody take place in the forum state with which the child and his family have the closest connection and where significant evidence is most readily available. Several provisions thus serve to deter abductions and unilateral removals of children for the purpose of "forum-shopping." The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act also parallels several provisions in the UCCJA by requiring courts to enforce judgments of other states. International kidnapping is addressed in the International Child Abduction Remedies Act.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationGreat American Court CasesCustody and Child Support - Introduction, Child Custody, Visitation, Child Support, Enforcement, Further Readings