42 U.S. Code § 659a - International support enforcement

(a) Authority for declarations
(1) Declaration
The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is authorized to declare any foreign country (or a political subdivision thereof) to be a foreign reciprocating country if the foreign country has established, or undertakes to establish, procedures for the establishment and enforcement of duties of support owed to obligees who are residents of the United States, and such procedures are substantially in conformity with the standards prescribed under subsection (b) of this section.
(2) Revocation
A declaration with respect to a foreign country made pursuant to paragraph (1) may be revoked if the Secretaries of State and Health and Human Services determine that—
(A) the procedures established by the foreign country regarding the establishment and enforcement of duties of support have been so changed, or the foreign country’s implementation of such procedures is so unsatisfactory, that such procedures do not meet the criteria for such a declaration; or
(B) continued operation of the declaration is not consistent with the purposes of this part.
(3) Form of declaration
A declaration under paragraph (1) may be made in the form of an international agreement, in connection with an international agreement or corresponding foreign declaration, or on a unilateral basis.
(b) Standards for foreign support enforcement procedures
(1) Mandatory elements
Support enforcement procedures of a foreign country which may be the subject of a declaration pursuant to subsection (a)(1) of this section shall include the following elements:
(A) The foreign country (or political subdivision thereof) has in effect procedures, available to residents of the United States—
(i) for establishment of paternity, and for establishment of orders of support for children and custodial parents; and
(ii) for enforcement of orders to provide support to children and custodial parents, including procedures for collection and appropriate distribution of support payments under such orders.
(B) The procedures described in subparagraph (A), including legal and administrative assistance, are provided to residents of the United States at no cost.
(C) An agency of the foreign country is designated as a Central Authority responsible for—
(i) facilitating support enforcement in cases involving residents of the foreign country and residents of the United States; and
(ii) ensuring compliance with the standards established pursuant to this subsection.
(2) Additional elements
The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of State, in consultation with the States, may establish such additional standards as may be considered necessary to further the purposes of this section.
(c) Designation of United States Central Authority
It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to facilitate support enforcement in cases involving residents of the United States and residents of foreign countries that are the subject of a declaration under this section, by activities including—
(1) development of uniform forms and procedures for use in such cases;
(2) notification of foreign reciprocating countries of the State of residence of individuals sought for support enforcement purposes, on the basis of information provided by the Federal Parent Locator Service; and
(3) such other oversight, assistance, and coordination activities as the Secretary may find necessary and appropriate.
(d) Effect on other laws
States may enter into reciprocal arrangements for the establishment and enforcement of support obligations with foreign countries that are not the subject of a declaration pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, to the extent consistent with Federal law.


(Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, title IV, § 459A, as added Pub. L. 104–193, title III, § 371(a),Aug. 22, 1996, 110 Stat. 2252.)
Effective Date

For effective date of section, see section 395(a)–(c) of Pub. L. 104–193, set out as an Effective Date of 1996 Amendment note under section 654 of this title.

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45 CFR - Public Welfare





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