United Kingdom’s Ratification of the Hague Child Support Convention

IM-21-01

Publication Date: January 29, 2021

INFORMATION MEMORANDUM

IM-21-01

DATE: January 29, 2021

TO: State and Tribal IV-D Agencies

SUBJECT: United Kingdom's Ratification of the Hague Child Support Convention

This Memorandum updates procedures for processing child support cases with the United Kingdom following the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, and the U.K.’s independent ratification of the Hague Child Support Convention, effective January 1, 2021.

The United Kingdom withdrew from its membership of the European Union on January 31, 2020, and entered into a Withdrawal Agreement in respect of its continuing obligations toward the EU until December 31, 2020. During the period of the Withdrawal Agreement, and until the U.K. independently ratified the Hague Convention, the Convention was not in effect between the U.S. and the U.K. (England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland). IM-20-02 provided temporary instructions to states for child support cases with the U.K. during the period of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In September 2020, the United Kingdom independently ratified the Hague Child Support Convention. The Convention took effect between the U.S. and the U.K. on January 1, 2021.

The U.K. has also added the British overseas territory of Gibraltar to its ratification of the Hague Convention, so states may now send cases to and receive cases from Gibraltar.

Outgoing cases from the U.S. to the United Kingdom

U.S. states should continue to send outgoing cases to the U.K. as they have been since 2017, using the Hague Convention forms and according to Hague Convention procedures and requirements.

The U.K. central authorities (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Gibraltar) and courts will process child support applications received from U.S. states according to the Hague Convention.

For resources about processing outgoing cases according to Hague Convention procedures, see OCSE’s international web page and the English-language Hague Convention forms.

Incoming cases from the United Kingdom to the U.S.

Starting January 1, 2021, U.S. states will once again receive new incoming cases from the U.K. central authorities using the Hague Convention forms and according to Hague Convention procedures and requirements.

U.S. states will process new applications received from the U.K. central authorities according to the Hague Child Support Convention and UIFSA Articles 1 through 7.

Open Cases

No action is required on existing cases that were processed under the previous instructions until a major action, such as a modification, is needed. At that point, U.S. child support agencies and tribunals will process the action according to the Hague Child Support Convention and UIFSA Articles 1 through 7.

For pending incoming cases from the U.K. that were filed with the U.S. tribunal before December 31, 2020, but have not yet been resolved by the tribunal, the U.S. state child support agency should review the cases individually to determine if additional documentation is needed to process the cases under the Hague Convention. If so, the state agency should promptly request the documentation from the relevant U.K. central authority so that documents can be filed and cases can proceed with minimal disruption or challenge.

SUPERSEDES: IM-20-02

INQUIRIES: Contact ocseinternational@acf.hhs.gov

Linda Boyer
Acting Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

 

The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way, unless specifically incorporated into a contract. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law.

 

 

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