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Applications by States to Use the Courts of the United States to Enforce Child Support Orders


Published: February 6, 1976



February 6, 1976


SUBJECT:Applications by States to use the courts of the United States to enforce child support orders

CONTENT:Sections 452(a)(8) and 460 of the Social Security Act permit the use of the courts of the United States without regard to any amount in controversy, when another State has not undertaken to enforce a court order of an originating State against an absent parent within a reasonable time and the Secretary finds that utilization of the Federal courts is the only reasonable method of enforcing such order.

45 CFR 302.72 (currently 45 CFR 303.73) prescribes that a State seeking to use the Federal courts to enforce a child support order against an absent parent in another State may apply to the Regional Office of Child Support Enforcement for certification to use a United States district court for such purpose.

This Program Instruction furnishes guidance for use of Federal courts and instructions to State IV-D agencies for preparation and submission of applications for certification to use a U.S. district court.

Guidance for Use of Federal Courts

1. Authorized individuals

Applications may be submitted only by authorized individuals. Authorized individuals are heads of State IV-D agencies or other State-level officials designated as their representative.

2. IV-D cases only

United States district courts may be used only for IV-D cases. IV-D cases are those in which an assignment is effective pursuant to Section 402(a)(26) of the Act and 45 CFR 232.11 or those involving an individual who is receiving child supportservices from the State pursuant to Section 454(6) of the Act and 45 CFR 302.33.

3. Court order required

United States district courts may be used only when a child support order has been issued in the originating State by a court of competent jurisdiction.

4. Notice to another State

Applications may not be submitted unless the originating State has given 30 days notice to the State-level central office of the IV-D agency of the State which failed to undertake enforcement that the originating State would file such application if a satisfactory response were not received, and not unless after expiration of such 30 day notice period the other State has still failed to undertake enforcement. Such notice may not be given to another State until 60 days or more after the originating State sent a request to such other State for assistance to enforce a child support order.

5. Application form

Application must be submitted in the format of the attached application form.

6. Certification

Certification that the Regional Office has granted permission to use a U.S. district court will be executed as a part of the attached application form.

7. Filing of actions in Federal court

A civil action to enforce a child support order may be filed in a U.S. district court by a State when it receives certification from the Regional Office. A certified copy of the application form containing such certification will be accepted by a U.S. district court of competent jurisdiction as sufficient evidence that permission has been granted for use of Federal courts.

8. Jurisdiction of Federal courts

The U.S. district courts which have jurisdiction for enforcement of a child support order include:

a. The judicial district in which the claim arose.

b. The judicial district in which the plaintiff resides.

c. The judicial district in which the defendant resides.

Instruction for Preparation of Applications

1. State I.D. number

Space is provided in the upper right hand corner of the application for a State, at its option, to enter its own case identification number, for its convenience in matching Federal court certifications to its case files.

2. Control number

The certification control number assigned by the Regional Office to approved applications will be used by the States and Regional Offices for all future communication.

3. Submission of application and attachments

The original and two copies of the application, and two sets of attachments, will be submitted to the Regional Office. Each set of attachments must include:

a. A copy of the court order.

b. A copy of the original request to the other State for assistance.

c. A copy of the notice to the other State. d. A copy of each of the responses, if any, from the other State.

Failure to Cooperate

A case which is certified for permission to use a United States district court would indicate that a State has failed to cooperate in an interstate child support case as required by 45 CFR 302.26 and 303.27. States should be aware that certification could be evidence of failure to have an effective program that meets the requirements of Section 402(a)(27) of the act, which could result in the operation of the penalty provision of Section 402(h) of the Act. Therefore, the State which has failed to undertake to enforce the requesting State's court order will be notified by the Regional Office of the certification.

EFFECTIVE DATE: March 1, 1976

ATTACHMENT : Application form

INQUIRIES TO : Acting Regional Director, OCSE


Acting Director

Office of Child Support Enforcement



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