UIFSA

CS 157P-1 Enforcement – International Cases

New 07/02/04 Revised 05/26/17 Training Completed 06/02/17

42 U.S.C. 659a, UCA 78B-14-102, 304(2), 305(6), 307(4), 308(2), 316, 317, 318 and 615

 

 

Statutory Authority

 

Utah Code Annotated (U.C.A.) 78B-14-105 Application of chapter to residents of foreign countries and foreign support proceedings states:

(1) A tribunal of this state shall apply Part 1, General Provisions, Part 2, Jurisdiction, Part 3, Proceedings, Part 4, Support Order, Part 5, Income Withholding Orders, and Part 6, Registration, Enforcement, and Modification of Support Order and, as applicable, Part 7, Support Proceedings Under Convention, to a support proceeding involving:

(a) a foreign support order;

(b) a foreign tribunal; or

(c) an obligee, obligor, or child residing in a foreign country.

(2) A tribunal of this state that is requested to recognize and enforce a support order on the basis of comity may apply the procedural and substantive provisions of Part 1, General Provisions, Part 2, Jurisdiction, Part 3, Proceedings, Part 4, Support Order, Part 5, Income Withholding Orders, and Part 6, Registration, Enforcement, and Modification of Support Order.

(3)Part 7, Support Proceedings Under Convention, applies only to a support proceeding under the convention. In a proceeding, if a provision of Part 7, Support Proceedings Under Convention is inconsistent with Part 1, General Provisions, Part 2, Jurisdiction, Part 3, Proceedings, Part 4, Support Order, Part 5, Income Withholding Orders, and Part 6, Registration, Enforcement, and Modification of Support Order, Part 7, Support Proceedings Under Convention, controls.”

 

 

Reciprocity

 

Reciprocity is not a requirement of UIFSA, with the exception of the recognition and enforcement of support orders of foreign countries or political subdivision.  This concept is supported under UIFSA’s definition of “foreign country”. 

 

U.C.A. 78B-14-102 states:

(5) “Foreign country” means a country, including a political subdivision thereof, other than the United States, that authorizes the issuance of support orders and:

(a) which has been declared under the law of the United States to be a foreign reciprocating country;

(b) which has established a reciprocal arrangement for child support with this state as provided in Section 78B-14-308;

(c) which has enacted a law or established procedures for issuance and enforcement of support orders which are substantially similar to the procedures under this chapter;…

 

This type of declaration is binding on all states within the United States (U.S.).  U.C.A. 78B-14-308(2) states:

“The attorney general may determine that a foreign country has established a reciprocal arrangement for child support with this state and take appropriate action for notification of the determination.”

 

Currently, there are two different types of international countries with which the U.S. has agreements:

 

1.                   Foreign Reciprocating Countries (FRC) – UIFSA 2008, effective July 1, 2015, provides child support agencies with support for processing international cases. The U.S. has entered into bilateral arrangements with several countries and Canadian Provinces. 

 

2.                   Foreign Treaty Countries (FTC) – The U.S. has enacted Article 7 of UIFSA 2008, Support Proceedings Under Convention.  Article 7 provides guidance for international case processing pursuant to the Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (referred to as “the Convention”).  The Convention was ratified by the President of the United States on August 30, 2016 and became effective in the U.S. on January 1, 2017.  The U.S. can now process cases under the convention.  For a complete list of convention countries refer to the Hague Convention website https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/status-table/?cid=131. 

 

If a reciprocal agreement does not exist and there is a need to create one, contact the Policy Analyst Unit (PAU) to review the case and discuss the possibility of establishing a reciprocal agreement with the foreign country with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). 

 

 

Terms/Definitions

 

1.                   ComityAs defined by Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute:

The legal principle that political entities (such as states, nations, or courts from different jurisdictions) will mutually recognize each other’s legislative, executive, and judicial acts. The underlying notion is that different jurisdictions will reciprocate each other’s judgments out of deference, mutuality, and respect.”

 

2.                   U.C.A. 78B-14-102 definitions:

"(6) "Foreign support order" means a support order of a foreign tribunal.

(7) "Foreign tribunal" means a court, administrative agency, or quasi-judicial entity of a foreign country which is authorized to establish, enforce, or modify support orders or to determine parentage of a child. The term includes a competent authority under the convention.

(26) "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes an Indian nation or tribe.” 

 

3.                   78B-14-701.5. Definitions. 

“(1) "Application" means a request under the convention by an obligee or obligor, or on behalf of a child, made through a central authority for assistance from another central authority.

(2) "Central authority" means the entity designated by the United States or a foreign country described in Subsection 78B-14-102(5)(d) to perform the functions specified in the convention.

(3) "Convention support order" means a support order of a tribunal of a foreign country described in Subsection 78B-14-102(5)(d).

(4) "Direct request" means a petition filed by an individual in a tribunal of this state in a proceeding involving an obligee, obligor, or child residing outside the United States.

(5) "Foreign central authority" means the entity designated by a foreign country described in Subsection 78B-14-102(5)(d) to perform the functions specified in the convention.

(6) "Foreign support agreement":

(a) means an agreement for support in a record that:

(i) is enforceable as a support order in the country of origin;

(ii) has been:

(A) formally drawn up or registered as an authentic instrument by a foreign tribunal; or

(B) authenticated by, or concluded, registered, or filed with a foreign tribunal; and

(iii) may be reviewed and modified by a foreign tribunal; and

(b) includes a maintenance arrangement or authentic instrument under the convention.

(7) "United States central authority" means the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.”

 

 

Convert Support Order Amounts into Foreign Currency

 

Pursuant to UCA 78B-14-304(2): 

“If requested by the responding tribunal, a tribunal of this state shall issue a certificate or other document and make findings required by the law of the responding state. If the responding state is a foreign country or political subdivision, upon request, the tribunal shall specify the amount of support sought, convert that amount into the equivalent amount in the foreign currency under applicable official or market exchange rate as publicly reported, and provide any other documents necessary to satisfy the requirements of the responding state.”

 

The responding support enforcement agency or tribunal is responsible to convert foreign currency into the equivalent amount in U.S. dollars under applicable exchange rates as publicly reported.  If you have sent an intergovernmental referral to a foreign jurisdiction and the jurisdiction requests the amounts listed in the referral to be converted, according to U.C.A. 78B-14-304(2):

“. . . convert that amount into the equivalent amount in the foreign currency under applicable official or market exchange rate as publicly reported, and provide any other documents necessary to satisfy the requirements of the responding foreign tribunal.

 

If the case is an incoming case from another foreign jurisdiction, or if you are requesting registration and enforcement of a support order, arrears, or a judgment, which is listed in a foreign currency, per U.C.A. 78B-14-305(6) and U.C.A. 78B-14-307(4) you must convert the amount listed in foreign currency to the equivalent amount in dollars under the applicable exchange rates.

 

UCA 78B-14-305(6) states: 

“If requested to enforce a support order, arrears, or judgment or modify a support order, stated in a foreign currency, a responding tribunal of this state shall convert the amount stated in the foreign currency to the equivalent amount in dollars under the applicable official or market exchange rate as publicly reported.”

 

UCA 78B-14-307(4) states: 

“A support-enforcement agency of this state that requests registration and enforcement of a support order, arrears, or judgment stated in a foreign currency shall convert the amounts stated in the foreign currency into the equivalent amounts in dollars under the applicable official or market exchange rate as publicly reported.”

 

Outgoing cases with Canada – Under International Organization for Standardization (ISO) laws in Canada’s territories and provinces, depending on the laws of the particular province or territory, the initial exchange rate conversion may be done using the exchange rate for the date on which the order was finalized or the date the order was registered in Canada. 

 

 

Jurisdiction to Modify

 

Pursuant to UCA 78B-14-615 Jurisdiction to modify child-support order of foreign country or political subdivision:

“(1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 78B-14-711, if a foreign country lacks or refuses to exercise jurisdiction to modify its child support order pursuant to its laws, a tribunal of this state may assume jurisdiction to modify the child support order and bind all individuals subject to the personal jurisdiction of the tribunal whether or not the consent to modification of a child support order otherwise required of the individual pursuant to Section 78B-14-611 has been given or whether the individual seeking modification is a resident of this state or of the foreign country.

(2) An order issued by a tribunal of this state modifying a foreign child support order pursuant to this section is the controlling order.”

 

Pursuant to U.C.A. 78B-14-616   Procedures to register child support order of foreign country for modification:

“A party or support enforcement agency seeking to modify, or to modify and enforce, a foreign child support order not under the convention may register that order in this state under Sections 78B-14-601 through 78B-14-608 if the order has not been registered.  A petition for modification may be filed at the same time as a request for registration or, at another time.  The petition shall specify the grounds for modification.”

 

A U.S. tribunal may modify a foreign support order when a tribunal of the foreign country or political subdivision would have jurisdiction to modify its order under UIFSA, but under the law or procedures of that foreign country, the tribunal will not or may not exercise that jurisdiction to modify.  For example, some foreign country’s have a requirement that the parties be physically present in order to sustain a modification of child support lacking the  authority to compel a party residing outside of the borders of the country to appear.