In establishing custody and child support, a court has authority to allocate the tax exemption for children of divorced parents. The tax exemption may also be negotiated and agreed upon by the parties.
The Child Support Recovery Act, as amended by the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, makes it a federal crime to flee a state in order to avoid paying a child support arrearage. States use criminal contempt to punish parents who fail to pay child support upon a finding of an intentional failure to comply with a court order of support.
In some states, where one parent has been granted custody but the other parent or a nonparent has refused to return the child to the custodial parent, the custodial parent may file for a writ of habeas corpus to request that the court order the child be returned.
Americans have traditionally been a highly mobile people. In an era in which issues related to the custody of minor children are focal points in a substantial number of divorce proceedings, the ramifications of such a tradition of mobility can create a number of complex problems when the custodial parent, the former spouse to whom the court in a divorce proceeding has given custody of the minor children of the parties, chooses to relocate from one jurisdiction to another, or merely to a place within the same state that is a substantial distance away from the place of the marital residence. Courts are often called upon to resolve disputes between the parties over the questions of custody and visitation that are implicated by such choices.
The federal Parent Locator Service is available to help locate the parent of a child in order to establish a child support obligation and to collect past due amounts.