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Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders

U.S. Code Title 28 Part V Chapter 115 Sec. 1738B.

Published: January 2, 2001
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Intergovernmental/Interstate
Types:
Policy, Statutes/Legislation

U.S. Code Title 28 Part V Chapter 115 Sec. 1738B.

From the U.S. Code Online via GPO Access
[wais.access.gpo.gov]
[Laws in effect as of January 2, 2001]
[Document not affected by Public Laws enacted between
  January 2, 2001 and January 28, 2002]
[CITE: 28USC1738B]


               TITLE 28--JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

                            PART V--PROCEDURE

                   CHAPTER 115--EVIDENCE; DOCUMENTARY

Sec. 1738B. Full faith and credit for child support orders

    (a) General Rule.--The appropriate authorities of each State--
        (1) shall enforce according to its terms a child support order
    made consistently with this section by a court of another State; and
        (2) shall not seek or make a modification of such an order
    except in accordance with subsections (e), (f), and (i).

    (b) Definitions.--In this section:
        ``child'' means--
            (A) a person under 18 years of age; and
            (B) a person 18 or more years of age with respect to whom a
        child support order has been issued pursuant to the laws of a
        State.

        ``child's State'' means the State in which a child resides.
        ``child's home State'' means the State in which a child lived
    with a parent or a person acting as parent for at least 6
    consecutive months immediately preceding the time of filing of a
    petition or comparable pleading for support and, if a child is less
    than 6 months old, the State in which the child lived from birth
    with any of them. A period of temporary absence of any of them is
    counted as part of the 6-month period.
        ``child support'' means a payment of money, continuing support,
    or arrearages or the provision of a benefit (including payment of
    health insurance, child care, and educational expenses) for the
    support of a child.
        ``child support order''--
            (A) means a judgment, decree, or order of a court requiring
        the payment of child support in periodic amounts or in a lump
        sum; and
            (B) includes--
                (i) a permanent or temporary order; and
                (ii) an initial order or a modification of an order.

        ``contestant'' means--
            (A) a person (including a parent) who--
                (i) claims a right to receive child support;
                (ii) is a party to a proceeding that may result in the
            issuance of a child support order; or
                (iii) is under a child support order; and

            (B) a State or political subdivision of a State to which the
        right to obtain child support has been assigned.

        ``court'' means a court or administrative agency of a State that
    is authorized by State law to establish the amount of child support
    payable by a contestant or make a modification of a child support
    order.
        ``modification'' means a change in a child support order that
    affects the amount, scope, or duration of the order and modifies,
    replaces, supersedes, or otherwise is made subsequent to the child
    support order.
        ``State'' means a State of the United States, the District of
    Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories and
    possessions of the United States, and Indian country (as defined in
    section 1151 of title 18).

    (c) Requirements of Child Support Orders.--A child support order
made by a court of a State is made consistently with this section if--
        (1) a court that makes the order, pursuant to the laws of the
    State in which the court is located and subsections (e), (f), and
    (g)--
            (A) has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the matter and
        enter such an order; and
            (B) has personal jurisdiction over the contestants; and

        (2) reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard is given to
    the contestants.

    (d) Continuing Jurisdiction.--A court of a State that has made a
child support order consistently with this section has continuing,
exclusive jurisdiction over the order if the State is the child's State
or the residence of any individual contestant unless the court of
another State, acting in accordance with subsections (e) and (f), has
made a modification of the order.
    (e) Authority To Modify Orders.--A court of a State may modify a
child support order issued by a court of another State if--
        (1) the court has jurisdiction to make such a child support
    order pursuant to subsection (i); and
        (2)(A) the court of the other State no longer has continuing,
    exclusive jurisdiction of the child support order because that State
    no longer is the child's State or the residence of any individual
    contestant; or
        (B) each individual contestant has filed written consent with
    the State of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction for a court of
    another State to modify the order and assume continuing, exclusive
    jurisdiction over the order.

    (f) Recognition of Child Support Orders.--If 1 or more child support
orders have been issued with regard to an obligor and a child, a court
shall apply the following rules in determining which order to recognize
for purposes of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction and enforcement:
        (1) If only 1 court has issued a child support order, the order
    of that court must be recognized.
        (2) If 2 or more courts have issued child support orders for the
    same obligor and child, and only 1 of the courts would have
    continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under this section, the order of
    that court must be recognized.
        (3) If 2 or more courts have issued child support orders for the
    same obligor and child, and more than 1 of the courts would have
    continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under this section, an order
    issued by a court in the current home State of the child must be
    recognized, but if an order has not been issued in the current home
    State of the child, the order most recently issued must be
    recognized.
        (4) If 2 or more courts have issued child support orders for the
    same obligor and child, and none of the courts would have
    continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under this section, a court
    having jurisdiction over the parties shall issue a child support
    order, which must be recognized.
        (5) The court that has issued an order recognized under this
    subsection is the court having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction
    under subsection (d).

    (g) Enforcement of Modified Orders.--A court of a State that no
longer has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a child support order
may enforce the order with respect to nonmodifiable obligations and
unsatisfied obligations that accrued before the date on which a
modification of the order is made under subsections (e) and (f).
    (h) Choice of Law.--
        (1) In general.--In a proceeding to establish, modify, or
    enforce a child support order, the forum State's law shall apply
    except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3).
        (2) Law of state of issuance of order.--In interpreting a child
    support order including the duration of current payments and other
    obligations of support, a court shall apply the law of the State of
    the court that issued the order.
        (3) Period of limitation.--In an action to enforce arrears under
    a child support order, a court shall apply the statute of limitation
    of the forum State or the State of the court that issued the order,
    whichever statute provides the longer period of limitation.

    (i) Registration for Modification.--If there is no individual
contestant or child residing in the issuing State, the party or support
enforcement agency seeking to modify, or to modify and enforce, a child
support order issued in another State shall register that order in a
State with jurisdiction over the nonmovant for the purpose of
modification.

(Added Pub. L. 103-383, Sec. 3(a), Oct. 20, 1994, 108 Stat. 4064;
amended Pub. L. 104-193, title III, Sec. 322, Aug. 22, 1996, 110 Stat.
2221; Pub. L. 105-33, title V, Sec. 5554, Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 636.)


                               Amendments

    1997--Subsec. (f)(4). Pub. L. 105-33, Sec. 5554(1), substituted ``a
court having jurisdiction over the parties shall issue a child support
order, which must be recognized.'' for ``a court may issue a child
support order, which must be recognized.''
    Subsec. (f)(5). Pub. L. 105-33, Sec. 5554(2), inserted ``under
subsection (d)'' after ``jurisdiction''.
    1996--Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(1), substituted
``subsections (e), (f), and (i)'' for ``subsection (e)''.
    Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(2), inserted par. defining
``child's home State''.
    Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(3), inserted ``by a court of
a State'' before ``is made'' in introductory provisions.
    Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(4), inserted ``and
subsections (e), (f), and (g)'' after ``located''.
    Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(5), inserted ``individual''
before ``contestant'' and substituted ``subsections (e) and (f)'' for
``subsection (e)''.
    Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(6), substituted ``modify a
child support order issued'' for ``make a modification of a child
support order with respect to a child that is made'' in introductory
provisions.
    Subsec. (e)(1). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(7), inserted ``pursuant to
subsection (i)'' after ``order''.
    Subsec. (e)(2). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(8), inserted
``individual'' before ``contestant'' in subpars. (A) and (B) and
substituted ``with the State of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction for a
court of another State to modify the order and assume'' for ``to that
court's making the modification and assuming'' in subpar. (B).
    Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(10), added subsec. (f).
Former subsec. (f) redesignated (g).
    Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(11), substituted ``Modified''
for ``Prior'' in heading and ``subsections (e) and (f)'' for
``subsection (e)'' in text.
    Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(9), redesignated subsec. (f) as (g).
Former subsec. (g) redesignated (h).
    Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(12), inserted ``including the
duration of current payments and other obligations of support'' before
comma in par. (2) and ``arrears under'' after ``enforce'' in par. (3).
    Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(9), redesignated subsec. (g) as (h).
    Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 104-193, Sec. 322(13), added subsec. (i).


                    Effective Date of 1997 Amendment

    Amendment by Pub. L. 105-33 effective as if included in enactment of
title III of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
Reconciliation Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-193, see section 5557 of Pub. L.
105-33, set out as a note under section 608 of Title 42, The Public
Health and Welfare.


                    Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

    For effective date of amendment by Pub. L. 104-193, see section
395(a)-(c) of Pub. L. 104-193, set out as a note under section 654 of
Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.


            Congressional Findings and Declaration of Purpose

    Section 2 of Pub. L. 103-383 provided that:
    ``(a) Findings.--The Congress finds that--
        ``(1) there is a large and growing number of child support cases
    annually involving disputes between parents who reside in different
    States;
        ``(2) the laws by which the courts of different jurisdictions
    determine their authority to establish child support orders are not
    uniform;
        ``(3) those laws, along with the limits imposed by the Federal
    system on the authority of each State to take certain actions
    outside its own boundaries--
            ``(A) encourage noncustodial parents to relocate outside the
        States where their children and the custodial parents reside to
        avoid the jurisdiction of the courts of such States, resulting
        in an increase in the amount of interstate travel and
        communication required to establish and collect on child support
        orders and a burden on custodial parents that is expensive, time
        consuming, and disruptive of occupations and commercial
        activity;
            ``(B) contribute to the pressing problem of relatively low
        levels of child support payments in interstate cases and to
        inequities in child support payments levels that are based
        solely on the noncustodial parent's choice of residence;
            ``(C) encourage a disregard of court orders resulting in
        massive arrearages nationwide;
            ``(D) allow noncustodial parents to avoid the payment of
        regularly scheduled child support payments for extensive periods
        of time, resulting in substantial hardship for the children for
        whom support is due and for their custodians; and
            ``(E) lead to the excessive relitigation of cases and to the
        establishment of conflicting orders by the courts of various
        jurisdictions, resulting in confusion, waste of judicial
        resources, disrespect for the courts, and a diminution of public
        confidence in the rule of law; and
        ``(4) among the results of the conditions described in this
    subsection are--
            ``(A) the failure of the courts of the States to give full
        faith and credit to the judicial proceedings of the other
        States;
            ``(B) the deprivation of rights of liberty and property
        without due process of law;
            ``(C) burdens on commerce among the States; and
            ``(D) harm to the welfare of children and their parents and
        other custodians.
    ``(b) Statement of Policy.--In view of the findings made in
subsection (a), it is necessary to establish national standards under
which the courts of the various States shall determine their
jurisdiction to issue a child support order and the effect to be given
by each State to child support orders issued by the courts of other
States.
    ``(c) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act [enacting this section and
provisions set out as a note under section 1 of this title] are--
        ``(1) to facilitate the enforcement of child support orders
    among the States;
        ``(2) to discourage continuing interstate controversies over
    child support in the interest of greater financial stability and
    secure family relationships for the child; and
        ``(3) to avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict among
    State courts in the establishment of child support orders.''