Cases can be filed to other states and countries (if Florida has reciprocity*) when the non-custodial parent lives outside of Florida. This is commonly referred to as a UIFSA filing or UIFSA petition (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act). UIFSA documents are Federally approved for all states to use when they are requesting assistance from another state with establishing paternity and or obtaining support orders. Filing an interstate case requires a brief visit to our office to complete the necessary paperwork.
What can I expect after the necessary UIFSA paperwork has been completed?
The petition has to be processed which includes making additional copies and submitting it to the Circuit Civil Division in our courthouse to assign a docket number and open a court file. This normally takes approximately one week. Then the petition is mailed to the Central Registry of the other state or country now known as the responding state or country. We usually get an answer or what we call an acknowledgment from the responding state within thirty days. At this point they forward the packet to the appropriate county where the non-custodial parent resides.
Once it is at the county level, the processing time can vary based on a lot of factors, however, typically we are informed within 30-60 days of where they are in the process. During this time, they are trying to verify the non-custodial parent’s address and employer and perhaps even contact him/her to see if they are agreeable in order to eliminate the need for court hearings. Paternity cases can take longer particularly if the non-custodial parent requests DNA testing.
Already have an order for support and need enforcement?
This is called a registration. A valid order issued by any state or country can be sent to the state or country where the non-custodial parent resides for enforcement. A UIFSA registration requires a signed and notarized statement containing the support order amount and arrears due. Certified copies of all orders and pay records must accompany this statement. Once registrations are received by the responding state or country, it is typically a fairly quick process since most states and counties handle this administratively. They attempt to locate employers first so an income withholding can be implemented as this is the fastest and most effective enforcement tool. If this is not successful, they will attempt additional enforcement remedies as allowed by their state statutes.
*Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada (including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland/Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory), Czech Republic, Finland, Fiji, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom (including England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland)