RI.gov R.I. Government Agencies | Privacy Policy |

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question

I provided the out of state address of my children's father to my child support agent, who then sent out a petition to establish a support order. That was over three months ago, and I still have not received any support payments. What is the problem?

Answer

It's possible that the enforcement officials in the other state could not serve the necessary legal notices on the non-custodial parent at the address you provided; or, we may be waiting for the court hearing that has been scheduled sometime in the future by their court system. The demand for court hearings in that state may be very high and interstate requests may be handled by a particular court or calendar in that state. Your child support agent is required to request a status on your case if no information has been received in 90 days since the last contact with the child support enforcement office in the other state. It is also possible possible that the payments have been received in your state, but the child support office in your state has not yet received a copy of the court order from the other state with the amount and terms of the order so that they can set up your account on their computers. Check with your child support agent from time to time to find out what the delay may be.

Question

I need to establish paternity for my child, and the father lives in another state. How can we get this done?

Answer

Because state paternity laws vary widely, it can be difficult to establish paternity across state lines. Most states have either a long-arm statute or other laws such as UIFSA that enable them to establish jurisdiction over the alleged father in another state, or can refer the case for prosecution in the state where the father lives. If an attempt is being made to establish paternity according to the laws of the other state, the UIFSA petition sent to the state must include all the information required by the laws of that other state. Frequently, DNA testing will be ordered to help the court in the other state determine the paternity of your child.

Question

My caseworker filed a UIFSA petition for paternity. The father's denied he is the father, and the other court just dismissed the case. What went wrong?

Answer

A responding state (the father's state) should not dismiss a case without requesting the additional information needed to proceed, and the initiating state (your child's state) is required to provide that needed information within 30 days. Either party in a contested paternity action will be able to request DNA testing. Ask your child support agent to reopen the case.

Question

If paternity is established in another state, will the support order also be entered in that state?

Answer

Yes. The court or agency in the other state will apply their guidelines to enter a Child Support Order.

 

Question

I've been waiting several months for my Office of Child Support Services to get a reply to its request for location assistance in another state. Why does it take so long?

Answer

Even though other states try to be responsive, most enforcement agencies have a very high demand for their services and they have to set priorities among the cases they receive. A state's ability to act rapidly depends on the characteristics of the case, the quality of information received, and the amount of resources and staff the other state has to devote to your case. Follow-up regularly with your child support agent to make sure that each state is responding within the time limits allowed.

Question

As soon as the father of my children is notified about a pending enforcement action, he moves. How will I ever be able to collect my support?

Answer

Many custodial parents are frustrated and angry when, after the non-custodial parent is finally located and served notice of the enforcement action, he or she then moves on. Unquestionably, it is difficult to enforce child support payments when the non-custodial parent intentionally and continually moves to avoid paying. Legal papers can be served at the parent's place of employment. Employers in every state must report all new hires to their state directory of new hires within 21 days of hire. This information is shared through the federal government's Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) with the state Office of Child Support Services that has the family case. We can then pursue enforcement actions with that state and use this new employer's address to serve the appropriate notices upon the other parent. Whenever you learn that the non-custodial parent has moved or has a new job, you should immediately get this information to your child support agent.

Question

My former wife lives in another state and she is the non-custodial parent. She owns an expensive car, jewelry and several pieces of property. Would a UIFSA petition allow me to attach this property for child support?

Answer

This may be possible after your child support worker issues a Notice of Lien against your wife's property. A judgment can then be obtained and executed in the state where she lives. The process and time frames involved in the execution of liens varies from state to state.

Question

Will location and enforcement services cost more if my agency is dealing with another state? I am not a current recipient of RIWORKS benefits and I am considered as a non-welfare child support case by my state's Office of Child Support Services.

Answer

Possibly In Rhode Island, we do not charge additional fees for services after you have paid the application fee of $20. However, if this is an interstate matter, some states do charge fees for service. It all depends on what the Office of Child Support Services office in the other state has to do to find the non-custodial parent, serve the parent with legal due process notices, and establish regular child support payments. For Non-welfare cases, states vary in what they may charge for these services. Some states also charge fees. Your child support agent should be able to tell you more about these costs in your particular case.

Question

I don't have a support order. Can I establish one by petitioning the court where my ex-husband lives?

Answer

Yes, this can also be done by your Office of Child Support Services office in a UIFSA petition. An affidavit of all the pertinent facts, including the name and address of the responsible parent, details of your financial circumstances and the needs of your child will be included. The petition will be sent to the enforcement agency where the father lives. The court in the responding state will review the information together with the information regarding the father's ability to pay and set the amount to be paid.

Question

The father of my child has left the United States. How can I get my court order for child support enforced?

Answer

Many state Office of Child Support Services agencies have agreements with foreign countries to recognize child support judgments that are made in either country. You will need the same kind of information as is required for enforcement in this country and as much specific address information as you can find. If the non-custodial parent works for an American company, wage withholding may work even if the country he lives in does not have any agreement to enforce a United States court order.