This topic contains information on the following:
NCGS 52C permits handling international cases with any foreign jurisdiction that has a substantially similar reciprocal law in effect. Arrangements for child support were developed between individual states and various foreign countries, based on the principles of "comity"-- the voluntary recognition and respect given to the acts of another nation's government-- as well as formal statements of reciprocity developed at the federal level. Countries with which the United States has entered into formal agreements are called "foreign reciprocating countries" (FRCs).
Reciprocity requires cost-free provision of services to US residents who are seeking to establish paternity and support and enforce support obligations against individuals living in the other country. The FRC is not required to have identical procedures as a US state.
The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has established reciprocity with the nations of Australia, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales). Reciprocal agreements also have been established with the Canadian Provinces of Alberta, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon Territory.
North Carolina has established additional reciprocal agreements with Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Federal regulations provide services at the federal level through a "Central Authority" to ensure an efficient and workable system in cooperation with the states and FRCs. OCSE serves as the US Central Authority for International Child Support to US states when a problem exists between a state and an FRC.
CSS must send outgoing cases involving a foreign jurisdiction in the standard UIFSA format to the central authority of the foreign country with which North Carolina has a reciprocal agreement. CSS must review paternity establishment requests carefully to ensure strong paternity evidence, such as a written acknowledgement of paternity or copies of receipts for any medical or birth expenses that the defendant might have paid previously, and include this evidence in the petition. If necessary, CSS should use the testing laboratory that is currently under contract with the State to perform paternity testing.
The web site "http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/international/" provides specific information about reciprocal countries and the policy dealing with international child support.
CSS workers need translation services for documents when they initiate requests to non-English-speaking foreign reciprocating countries (FRCs). In international cases where North Carolina is the responding state, the initiating FRC is responsible for having documents translated into English before sending the request to NC.
Many companies in NC provide translation services. Fees and turnaround time vary, depending on the complexity of the document. The NC Division of Social Services (DSS) has approved CETRA, Incorporated, to translate documents. Contact local DSS or the county Clerk of Court office to obtain information about the translation services that are available locally.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.