The Intergovernmental Unit encompasses a combination of both the Establishment and the Compliance Units. The primary task of the Intergovernmental Unit is the establishment, modification, compliance reviews and associated case work of cases in which the person who should pay child support and the person who should receive support payments for the child are in two different counties, states or countries.
Intergovernmental cases are generally more complex and may take additional processing time as there are 2 courts involved in the support action, in addition to the children and their parents. The involved courts are referred to as the initiating court (the county, state or country of the party that requests an action) and the responding court (the county, state or country in which the action takes place).
The Intergovernmental Unit operates under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). UIFSA governs case processing in interstate child support cases and is a state law in all states.
Some of the primary provisions of UIFSA are:
- A state cannot take action unless it has legal jurisdiction over the defendant/putative father.
- One controlling order- only one support order between the parties can be controlling at any one time. Priorities have been established to determine which court has continuing exclusive jurisdiction (CEJ).
- Includes a long-arm provision that allows states to assert jurisdiction over nonresidents in support actions.
- Includes provisions to facilitate the resolution of paternity in contested cases that cross state lines.
- Provides for the initial establishment of support obligations.
- A plaintiff is able to modify an order by registering the order to another state rather than filing a new complaint to the other state.
- Methods to change the CEJ include a written agreement being executed by the parties agreeing which state is to have CEJ.
- Mechanism for enforcement without fear of modification or delay.
- Contains a direct income withholding provision that requires an employer to honor an income attachment order issued from another state.
- Makes child support services available upon the request of a Plaintiff.