Use of Federal Intergovernmental Forms by Foreign Reciprocating Countries
TO: ALL IV-D DIRECTORS
RE: Use of Federal Intergovernmental Forms by Foreign Reciprocating Countries
It has come to our attention that some state and local child support agencies are informing foreign reciprocating countries (FRCs) that they must use the federal intergovernmental forms in order to have their cases handled by the child support program. Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.7(a) require a state IV-D agency to use federally approved forms in intergovernmental IV-D cases, unless an FRC has provided alternative forms as part of its chapter in “A Caseworker’s Guide to Processing Cases with Foreign Reciprocating Countries.” The regulations govern conduct by state IV-D agencies. There is no federal requirement that foreign countries use the federal forms mandated for IV-D cases, nor is there a state requirement within the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Rather, UIFSA requires that the petitioner submit a petition and accompanying documents that “conform substantially with the requirements imposed by the forms mandated by federal law for use in cases filed by a support enforcement agency.” UIFSA section 311(b).
We encourage states to be as flexible as possible in processing cases from FRCs and to interpret UIFSA’s substantial conformance provision broadly. Federal regulations direct states to process cases to the extent possible pending receipt of any missing documentation. See 45 CFR 303.7(d)(2)(ii) and (iii). States are required to initially process a request for services from an FRC while they work with the FRC to obtain any needed additional information.
Given the importance of uniform forms for efficient case processing, OCSE has worked with many FRCs to reach consensus on forms to be used under the respective reciprocity agreement or declaration. If available, these alternative forms are included in a country’s chapter in “A Caseworker’s Guide to Processing Cases with Foreign Reciprocating Countries.” There are some FRCs, however, that do not use standard forms when processing child support cases.
Thank you very much for your assistance with this matter.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
cc: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers
Tribal IV-D Directors