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United Kingdom's Withdrawal from European Union - Procedures for U.S. States

IM-20-02

Published: March 17, 2020

INFORMATION MEMORANDUM

IM-20-02

DATE: March 17, 2020

TO: State and Tribal IV-D Agencies

SUBJECT: United Kingdom's Withdrawal from European Union - Procedures for U.S. States

This Memorandum addresses procedures for processing child support cases with the United Kingdom following the U.K.'s withdrawal from its membership of the European Union on January 31, 2020. On February 1, the U.K. entered into a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU 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 ratifies the Hague Child Support Convention, the Hague Convention is not in effect between the U.S. and the U.K. (England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland). During this transitional period, the U.S. will continue to work on child support cases from the U.K. based on the U.K.'s status as a foreign reciprocating country under section 459A of the Social Security Act, using the procedures for processing cases that were in place between the countries prior to the Hague Convention. The implications of this change are that U.S. jurisdictions will consider incoming U.K. cases under Articles 1 through 6 of UIFSA as foreign reciprocating country cases, rather than under Article 7, which only applies to Hague Convention cases. For outgoing cases from the U.S. to the U.K., the U.K. will continue to process the cases under the Hague Convention until December 31, 2020, pursuant to the terms of the U.K.'s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

The following case processing instructions to states are the result of careful discussions with the U.K. government and, as indicated above, are based in part on procedures used under the bilateral arrangement prior to the Hague Convention taking effect in the U.S. on January 1, 2017. These instructions are designed to minimize disruption to child support cases between the two countries, while also respecting the current legal positions of the U.S. and the U.K.

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

Based on the U.K.'s legal requirements under its Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, the U.K. has requested that U.S. states 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, and Northern Ireland) and courts will continue to process child support applications received from U.S. states under the Hague Convention, as required by U.K. law.

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

New incoming cases from the United Kingdom to the U.S.

New incoming cases from the U.K. should not include Hague Convention forms, since these are not considered Convention cases under U.S. law. Nor will these cases include U.S. intergovernmental forms, since these U.S. domestic forms are not required in international cases, and their use is not feasible for the U.K.

If any information is missing from an incoming case from the U.K., contact the appropriate U.K. central authority directly to request the needed documentation or to seek clarification. Continue to follow payment instructions as indicated on the incoming case documentation or on the United Kingdom (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) section on OCSE's Hague Requirements page.

Below are the types of documents and information you will receive in incoming cases under the bilateral arrangement:

Recognition and Enforcement

  • A request for recognition and enforcement of the order for support/maintenance
  • Two copies, one certified, of the order
  • A signed certificate that the order is enforceable in the U.K.
  • A signed certificate of arrears
  • A statement about the location of the noncustodial parent and the nature and location of assets in the U.S., to the extent known
  • The name and address of the obligee/creditor, unless there are safety concerns

Establishment

  • A request for establishment of an order for support/maintenance
  • A testimony affidavit (application and formal written evidence, including the applicant's financial circumstances and whatever is known about the noncustodial parent's circumstances)
  • A statement about the location of the noncustodial parent and the nature and location of assets in the U.S., to the extent known

Modification

  • A request for modification or "variation" of an order for support/maintenance and the basis for the request
  • A testimony affidavit (application and formal written evidence, including the applicant's financial circumstances, whatever is known about the noncustodial parent's circumstances, and evidence supporting the modification request)
  • A statement about the location of the noncustodial parent and the nature and location of assets in the U.S., to the extent known

Open Cases

No action is required on existing cases that were previously processed under the Hague Convention until a major action, such as a modification, is needed. At that point, for outgoing cases to the U.K., the U.K. will treat the action as though the Hague Convention is in effect. For incoming cases to the U.S., U.S. child support agencies and tribunals will process the action according to the bilateral arrangement and Articles 1 through 6 of UIFSA.

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

INQUIRIES: If you have any questions or concerns about this IM or about specific cases, please contact ocseinternational@acf.hhs.gov

Scott M. Lekan
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

Last Reviewed: March 19, 2020

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