Issue: UIFSA Proposed Revisions
Recommendations of the Uniform Law Commission to amend the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) will change the processing of international cases.
No formal position
In 1992, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), now know as the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), promulgated the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) to replace the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA). The original version of UIFSA was adopted verbatim by every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, as was required by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193).
ULC approved a revision of UIFSA in 2001. The 2001 amendments include (1) clarification that the jurisdictional rules limit the ability of parties to seek modifications of orders in states other than the issuing state, (2) specificity on how a controlling order is to be determined and reconciled in the event multiple orders are issued, (3) clarification that the jurisdictional basis for the issuance of support orders and child custody jurisdiction are separate, (and (4) expands UIFSA to include coverage of support orders from foreign country jurisdictions pursuant to reciprocity and comity principles.
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) appointed a drafting committee to consider revisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) that will be needed for the United States (US) to be able to comply with the requirements of the new Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The drafting committee, chaired by Battle Robinson, a retired judge from Delaware, was appointed and charged with developing a proposal on an expedited schedule. The UIFSA amendments will be key to securing the Senate’s advice and consent for the US to ratify the Convention. If the proposed UIFSA amendments are approved by ULC, the State Department and the Office of Child Support Enforcement plan to present a request to the Senate for advice and consent during 2008.
The drafting committee limited amendments to only those required to comply with the requirements of the Convention. Articles 1-6 are modified to include foreign support orders when procedures for handling Convention cases would be the same as in current UIFSA procedures for domestic cases. A new Article 7 will apply only to international cases and address the requirements unique to the Convention, e.g., reasons to refuse recognition of a foreign support order.
Twenty-two jurisdictions have enacted the 2001 amendments (AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, ID, IL, ME, MS, NE, NV, NM, OK, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, and WY).
The ULC drafting committee presented a final draft of the amendments for approval at the ULC Annual Meeting in July 2008. UIFSA 2008 was approved by ULC membership on 7/24/08. The final text has been posted to the ULC website, but the posted document does not include the comments.