International Treaty on Child Support Enforcement

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Issue: International Treaty on Child Support Enforcement

Impact:

If ratified, the new treaty would facilitate the enforcement of US support orders in other countries that have also ratified the treaty.

Position:

State court leaders support ratification of the Convention. (COSCA Resolution 08-M-2 and CCJ Resolution 09-A-5)

Summary:

The US is not a party of any of the existing international child support treaties.  In 2002, the Hague Conference on Private International Law established a Special Commission on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance to develop a new comprehensive treaty. 

The Convention applies to support obligations arising from a parent-child relationship towards a child under the age of 21, regardless of the marital relationship of the parents.  The Convention provides for recognition and enforcement of support orders and the establishment of support orders when one does not already exist or the receiving country cannot recognize the existing order. The Convention requires the recognition and enforcement of an order made by a participating country if it is enforceable in the country of origin and one of the specified bases for jurisdiction is present.  The Convention provides for limited grounds for refusing recognition and enforcement of an order.  The Convention also addresses translation of documents and costs of services.  

Status:

From 2003 - 2007, over 50 countries participated in treaty negotiations. The Final Act was approved on 11/23/07. In addition, on 11/23/07, the US signed the Act signaling its intention to seek ratification of the treaty. The 2008 modifications to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) are the vehicle for US compliance with the treaty. President Bush submitted an advice and consent request to the Senate on 9/9/08.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had a hearing on 10/6/09 and on 11/17/09 recommended approval of the treaty. On 1/22/10, the Committee filed its report (Exec. Rept. 111-2). The CCJ and COSCA resolutions were appended to the report.

On 9/29/10, the Senate gave its advice and consent to the Convention (Treaty Document 110-21) by a voice vote. The approved resolution includes two reservations. Of note, one reservation makes it clear that the US will not recognize support decisions rendered on 3 jurisdictional bases - (1) residence of the creditor, if there is no nexus between the debtor and the forum; the parties; (2) agreement to the forum taking jurisdiction, when the forum has no nexus to either party; and (3) jurisdiction over the marriage, even though the forum does not have personal jurisdiction over the parties.

On 1/1/13, the Convention went into force between Norway, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Strengthen and Vitalize Enforcement of Child Support (SAVE Child Support) Act (S 3848) on 9/28/10 and again (S. 1383) on 7/19/11. One provision of S 3848 is the requirement that each state have the 2008 UIFSA amendments in effect by 1/1/13. Senator Menendez reintroduced his SAVE Child Support Act (S. 508) for a third time on 3/14/13.

On 3/28/12, Representatives Rick Berg (R-ND) introduced HR 4282 , the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2012, which would require states to adopt the 2008 UIFSA amendments verbatim. On 6/5/12, the House approved HR 4282 by a voice vote under suspension of the rules. On 5/9/13, House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) introduced the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (H. R. 1896) . This bi-partisan legislation mirrors legislationthat was unanimously passed by the House in the 112th Congress. On 6/18/13, on a motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, the House approved HR 1896 by a vote of 394 to 27. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.