CS 250 International Enforcement Resources
10/00 Revised 11/15/17 Training Completed 07/15/15
Section 459a of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 659a) declares:
“The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is authorized to declare any foreign country (or a political subdivision thereof) to be a foreign reciprocating country if the foreign country has established, or undertakes to establish, procedures for the establishment and enforcement of duties of support owed to obligees who are residents of the United States, and such procedures are substantially in conformity with the standards prescribed under subsection (b) of this section.”
International reciprocal enforcement is based on similar independent policy declarations or determinations to avoid violating the prohibition of the United States Constitution with regard to compacts by the States of the United States with foreign powers.
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 the issuance and enforcement of support orders which are substantially similar to the procedures under this chapter; or
(d) in which the convention is in force with respect to the United States.”
“(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.”
Generally, reciprocity is determined by the states based on the following standards:
1. The country will enforce the child support obligation, collect the money and send it to the requesting state, whether or not there is an existing order;
2. The order will be enforced if recognizable under the laws and procedures of the country, and if it is not recognized or no order exists, an order or its equivalent will be obtained;
3. The system will deal with both in and out of wedlock children, and a determination of paternity will be made if possible in the circumstances;
4. Each country will use its own laws and procedures; and,
5. There will be no means test for legal services, and no charge for legal assistance or the service of government offices or personnel.
Central Authority – pursuant to 45
“. . .the agency designated by a government to facilitate support
enforcement with a foreign reciprocating county (
Central Registry – pursuant to 45
“. . .a single unit or office within the State IV-D agency which receives, disseminates and has oversight responsibility for processing incoming interstate IV-D cases, including UIFSA petitions and requests for wage withholding in IV-D cases and, at the option of the State, intrastate IV-D cases.”
Country - pursuant to 45
“. . . a foreign country (or a political subdivision thereof) declared to be an FRC under section 459A of the Act and any foreign country (or political subdivision thereof) with which the State has entered into a reciprocal arrangement for the establishment and enforcement of support obligations to the extent consistent with Federal law pursuant to section 459A(d) of the Act.”
Foreign Reciprocating Country (
Form – Pursuant to 45
“. . .a federally-approved document used for the establishment and enforcement of support obligations whether compiled or transmitted in written or electronic format, including but not limited to the Income Withholding for Support form, and the National Medical Support Notice. In interstate IV-D cases, such forms include those used for child support enforcement proceeding under UIFSA. Form also includes any federally-approved mandated IV-D program reporting form, where appropriate.”
Intergovernmental IV-D Case - Pursuant to 45
“a IV-D case in which the non-custodial parent lives and/or works in a different jurisdiction than the custodial parent and child(ren) that has been referred by an initiating agency to a responding agency for services. An intergovernmental IV-D case may include any combination of referrals between States, Tribes, and countries. An intergovernmental IV-D case may include cases in which a State agency is seeking only to collect support arrearages, whether owed to the family or assigned to the State.”
Resource - Bureau of Consular Affairs
The Bureau of Consular Affairs (BCA) is responsible for administering laws, formulating regulations and implementing policies relating to services provided to American citizens abroad. The BCA is also responsible for providing step-by-step guidance and general information about new developments and reference resources for parents, attorneys, and child support professionals regarding international child support enforcement.
Some of the information the BCA provides is:
1. General information relating to the legal requirements of a specific foreign country including reciprocal agreements;
2. Procedures for obtaining evidence abroad;
3. Procedures for obtaining service abroad; and,
4. Enforcement of judgments.
Procedures – Accessing Bureau of Consular Affairs Home Page
To access the BCA Home, follow the procedures below.
1. Access the BCA Home page at: http://travel.state.gov/.
2. The BCA Home Page is divided into three sections.
a. About Consular Affairs – this section provides specific information about the BCA; i.e., telephone numbers, U.S Embassy and Consulate Websites, etc.
b. Services – this section provides information on the services provided by the BCA. For example, Visa Services, Vital Records Services, Judicial Assistance, etc. Under Judicial assistance, you will find some information and/or procedures on international child support enforcement.
c. Additional Resources – this section provides information on other resources available to U. S. citizens through the BCA.
Services - Judicial Assistance
The judicial assistance section provides general information relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries regarding ten different topics. The topics are as follows:
1. Country-Specific Information – This section provides general information on a specific country. Not all countries are listed.
2. Service of Process Abroad – This section provides information general information on service of legal documents abroad; i.e., methods of service available;
3. Obtaining Evidence Abroad – This section provides general information and/or procedures on obtaining evidence abroad;
4. Enforcement of Judgments – This section provides general information and/or procedures for enforcing a judgment in a foreign country or enforcing a foreign judgment in the United States;
5. Travel Abroad for Judicial Assistance Purposes – This section provides information on travel procedures and protocol, travel warnings, and public announcements;
6. Notarial and Authentication Services – This section provides information and/or procedures for getting a document notarized and/or authenticated overseas;
7. Criminal Matters – This section provides information on legal assistance in criminal matters;
8. Family Law and Child Protection Issues – This section provides information and/or procedures on marriage, divorce, child(ren)’s issues, and child support enforcement.
9. Foreign Attorneys – This section provides information and/or procedures for retaining a foreign attorney, complaints against a foreign attorney, and a attorneys available in the countries listed; and,
10. Other Links – This section provides information and/or links to:
a. Diplomatic and Consular specific treaties;
b. Treaty databases;
c. U.S. Department of State;
d. U.S. House and Senate;
e. International Organizations;
f. U.S. Department of Justice;
g. Private Organizations;
h. Foreign law links; and,
i. U.S. Department of Notarial and Authentications links.
Procedures – Accessing Judicial Assistance
To access the “Judicial Assistance” section, follow the procedures, below.
1. Access the BCA Home page at: http://travel.state.gov/.
On the BCA
Home page, under “Services”, click on “Judicial Assistance.”
NOTE|: This takes you to the “International Judicial Assistance, Notarial Services and Authentication of Documents” page.
3. On the International Judicial Assistance, Notarial Services and Authentication of Documents” page, you must select the appropriate topic and click on it.
Resource - Child Support Enforcement Abroad
The “Child Support Enforcement Abroad” document is produced by the BCA. It also provides step-by-step guidance and general information relating to legal requirements of specific foreign countries. The document is intended to be a reference and resource for parents, attorney, and child support professionals.
The Office of American Citizens Services has general information on international judicial assistance topics, which includes country-specific information about service of process and obtaining evidence abroad, etc. Most of this information is available through the Internet Consular Affairs Home page.
OCSE International Caseworker Guides
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) publishes periodic
Information Memorandums (IMs) that provide state IV-D agencies with information
to assist in working child support cases.
IM 03-07 obtains information on processing cases with Foreign Reciprocating
The guide includes:
1. General instructions on handling international cases;
2. Best practice tips; and,
specific information and forms that IV-D agencies may use to send to the
b. Bilingual international forms (similar to the federal UIFSA forms, also see Appendix L Instructions for Completing Interstate Forms) and procedures to use when working with non-English speaking countries; and,
of the most relevant child support policy for the
Some states have state-level child support enforcement (reciprocity) agreements with non-foreign reciprocating countries. For this information you may consult the Hague Conference on Private International Law website. The address for the website is: http://www.hcch.net/e/workprog/ny_conv.pdf and includes a list of transmitting and receiving agencies designated under the New York Convention of June 20, 1956 on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance.