UIFSA Proposed Revisions

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Issue: UIFSA Proposed Revisions

Impact:

Recommendations of the Uniform Law Commission to amend the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) will change the processing of international cases. 

Position:

State court leaders support the 2008 amendments to UIFSA. (COSCA Resolution 08-M-2 and CCJ Resolution 09-A-5)  

Summary:

In 1992, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), now known 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 (Public Law 104-193).

ULC approved a revision of UIFSA in 2001, which included (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 ULC appointed a drafting committee to consider revisions of the 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 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.

Status:

The 2008 amendments were approved at the ULC 2008 Annual Meeting on 7/24/08.  Eleven states have enacted the 2008 amendments:  FL, GA, ME, MO, NM, NV, ND, RI, TN, UT, and WI.   Thus far in 2013, the 2008 amendments have been introduced in MN, PR, and WA.

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) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) 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 legislation that 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.