Alaska Supreme Court holds State must recognize tribal court child support orders


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Front Page Alaska Supreme Court OpinionLast Friday, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the State of Alaska must recognize and enforce child support orders from tribal courts. Title IV-D of the Social Security Act establishes the federal child support enforcement program. Under the Title IV-D program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides funding for state and tribal child support agencies to deliver a broad range of child support-related services. Alaska is the only state in the nation that had categorically refused to recognize child support orders from tribes.

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) operates a Title IV-D child support program and sued the State of Alaska in state court for its refusal to recognize and enforce Central Council’s child support orders. Central Council won in the trial court, and Alaska appealed the case to the Alaska Supreme Court. On appeal, NARF submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the National Association of Tribal Child Support Directors in support of Central Council, as did the U.S. Department of Justice.

NARF congratulates Central Council and their attorneys at Alaska Legal Services Corporation on this important victory! Read the Alaska Supreme Court’s opinion. Read the Central Council’s press release about the court’s decision.