Enforcement of Foreign Support Orders in New York

The Family Court is vested with exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings commenced pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The most important provision, Family Court Act § 580-201, establishes far ranging jurisdiction over non-resident respondents who may be responsible for support. If a foreign national has a child support order against a New York resident the foreign national can register the foreign support order in New York. The registered order is enforceable as of the date of registration in the same manner as an order issued by a New York State Court.

The party who the order is against has 20 days to file from the date of the mailing of the registered order to vacate the registration. There are a number of reasons a party can vacate the registration of the foreign judgment which are listed on form UIFSA-12. The party attempting to vacate the order has the burden to prove that it was filed improperly. The foreign registered order can also be for attorney fee’s related to obtaining the support order and fees for the foreign national attorney in New York.

It is important to remember that the registered order must be a support order. Any attorney fees requested must also be directly attached to a support order. For example, we represented a New York Resident whose wife filed a “General Form of Order-Financial Order” issued in London. After reviewing this document, we realized it was a money judgment for equitable distribution. Although it may have contained a support order, one could not discern whether it was a support order from the face of the judgment.

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