Background on S.1067

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FA Note:  Even if you don’t live in Ida­ho, all the objec­tions Vicky has list­ed will apply to the cor­re­spond­ing bill in your state. 

Channeling RealityIntegrating The Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance into State Law

On 4 May 2015, Gov­er­nor Butch Otter announced he would call a spe­cial ses­sion of the leg­is­la­ture to con­vene on 18 May 2015. The spe­cial ses­sion “will deal sole­ly with the issue of Idaho’s child sup­port sys­tem”. The alleged emer­gency con­cern­ing H&W’s child sup­port enforce­ment sys­tem is because the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has threat­ened to cut fed­er­al funds for the inter­state child sup­port enforce­ment sys­tem and to cut off access to the fed­er­al child sup­port enforce­ment sys­tem if the leg­is­la­ture does not pass the Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act of 2008 (UIFSA) which was includ­ed in Ida­ho S.1067.

The 2008 UIFSA mod­el leg­is­la­tion incor­po­rates pro­vi­sions of the 2007 Hague Con­ven­tion on the Inter­na­tion­al Recov­ery of Child Sup­port of Fam­i­ly Main­te­nance (“the Con­ven­tion”) into state law by spe­cif­ic ref­er­ence. The Con­ven­tion con­tains numer­ous pro­vi­sions that estab­lish uni­form pro­ce­dures for the pro­cess­ing of inter­na­tion­al child sup­port cas­es. The 2008 UIFSA amend­ments serve as the imple­ment­ing lan­guage for the Con­ven­tion through­out the states. The 2014 Pre­vent­ing Sex Traf­fick­ing and Strength­en­ing Fam­i­lies Act (H.R. 4980 – 113th Con­gress) serves as the fed­er­al imple­ment­ing leg­is­la­tion for the Convention.1

In order for the Unit­ed States to ful­ly accede to the Con­ven­tion “it was nec­es­sary to mod­i­fy UIFSA to incor­po­rate pro­vi­sions of the Con­ven­tion that impact exist­ing state law”.2 The bulk of the 2008 amend­ments are housed in a new sec­tion of UIFSA: Sec­tion 7. The new sec­tion pro­vides guide­lines and­pro­ce­dures for the reg­is­tra­tion, recog­ni­tion, enforce­ment and mod­i­fi­ca­tion of for­eign sup­port orders from coun­tries that are par­ties to the Con­ven­tion. Sec­tion 7 pro­vides that a sup­port order from a coun­try that has acced­ed to the Con­ven­tion must be reg­is­tered imme­di­ate­ly unless a tri­bunal in the state where the reg­is­tra­tion is sought deter­mines that the lan­guage of the order goes against the pol­i­cy of the state.3

The Prefa­to­ry-Note pro­duced by the Uni­form Law Com­mis­sion draft­ing com­mit­tee, includes the fol­low­ing explana­to­ry notes: “… because this mul­ti­lat­er­al treaty is not self-exe­cut­ing, addi­tion­al fed­er­al or state statu­to­ry enact­ments are nec­es­sary to enable the treaty and to make it read­i­ly acces­si­ble to the bench and bar. Because estab­lish­ment, enforce­ment, and mod­i­fi­ca­tion of fam­i­ly sup­port are basi­cal­ly mat­ters of state law, from the per­spec­tive of the Uni­form Law Com­mis­sion the vehi­cle for the accep­tance into force of the new Con­ven­tion is a revi­sion of UIFSA (2001), here­after called UIFSA (2008).

In time, it is antic­i­pat­ed the new Hague Main­te­nance Con­ven­tion will achieve a high lev­el of inte­gra­tionwith many oth­er countries”.4

Yes­ter­day, TVOI News pub­lish­er Michael Emery received notice by good author­i­ty that the Ida­ho State leg­is­la­ture will vote to pass the amend­ed S.1067 (Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act 2008) dur­ing the spe­cial ses­sion of the leg­is­la­ture to con­vene on 18 May 2015.

Changes made to S.1067 in the inter­im peri­od between the end of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion and the 4 May announce­ment by Gov­er­nor Otter were post­ed along with the Governor’s press release. These changes are being put for­ward as solv­ing the objec­tion­able tech­ni­cal issues with the leg­is­la­tion to make it more palat­able. The prob­lem is that the main objec­tion to the leg­is­la­tion is that it includes by spe­cif­ic ref­er­ence the Hague Con­ven­tion. As long as that ref­er­ence appears in the bill to be enact­ed into state law, the objec­tions stand. It is a mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the facts to pur­port that any changes to the UIFS A mod­el leg­is­la­tion made by mem­bers of the Ida­ho State Leg­is­la­ture make any sub­stan­tive changes to the bill because doing so would be in vio­la­tion of the man­date giv­en the states in the Action Trans­mit­tal AT-14–11 dat­ed Octo­ber 9, 2014 titled P.L. 113–183 UIFSA 2008 Enactment5, the instruc­tions to State Agen­cies Admin­is­ter­ing Child Sup­port Plans under Title IV‑D of the Social Secu­ri­ty Act and Oth­er Inter­est­ed Indi­vid­u­als, pro­vides the fol­low­ing instructions:

Now that the Pres­i­dent signed P.L. 113–183, the fol­low­ing steps must occur before the 2007 Fam­i­ly Main­te­nance con­ven­tion can enter into force for the Unit­ed States.

  • All states must enact UIFSA 2008 ver­ba­tim by the effec­tive date not­ed in P.L. 113–183. Where UIFSA 2008 has brack­et­ed lan­guage, states may use ter­mi­nol­o­gy appro­pri­ate under state law. In addi­tion, P.L. 113–183 requires states to make minor revi­sions to the state plan which OCSE will address in forth­com­ing guidance.
  • The Pres­i­dent must sign the instru­ment of ratification.
  • Once these activ­i­ties are com­plet­ed, the Unit­ed States will be able to deposit its instru­ment of rat­i­fi­ca­tion with the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the King­dom of the Nether­lands, which is the depos­i­to­ry for the Hague Con­ven­tion on the Inter­na­tion­al Recov­ery of Child Sup­port and Oth­er Forms of Fam­i­ly Maintenance.

The fed­er­al man­date to the states that they include by spe­cif­ic ref­er­ence in state law, the Hague Con­ven­tion on the Inter­na­tion­al Recov­ery of Child Sup­port and Oth­er Forms of Fam­i­ly Main­te­nance, con­clud­ed at The Hague on Novem­ber 23, 2007, is a vio­la­tion of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion – Arti­cle 1, Sec­tion 10: No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or con­fed­er­a­tion. S.1067 makes the state of Ida­ho a par­ty to and as a con­se­quence, sub­ject to The Hague Con­ven­tion and pri­vate inter­na­tion­al law jurisdiction.

In the prefa­to­ry-notes of the ULC draft­ing com­mit­tee on final adop­tion of UIFSA, they wrote the following:

…the fed­er­al pre­emp­tion of the issue via the treaty clause will be suf­fi­cient to make the Con­ven­tion “the law of the land”. See Arti­cle VI. cl. 2. How­ev­er, because this mul­ti­lat­er­al treaty is not self-exe­cut­ing, addi­tion­al fed­er­al or state statu­to­ry enact­ments are nec­es­sary to enable the treaty and make it read­i­ly acces­si­ble to bench and bar.…In time, it is antic­i­pat­ed the new Hague Main­te­nance Con­ven­tion will achieve a high lev­el of inte­gra­tion with many oth­er countries.”6

By def­i­n­i­tion, if the treaty is not self-exe­cut­ing because it requires changes to state law con­cern­ing juris­dic­tion­al mat­ters inter alia then Arti­cle VI, cl. 2 is not suf­fi­cient and since the recog­ni­tion of the Hague Con­ven­tion in state law to make the Con­ven­tion acces­si­ble to bar and bench vio­lates Arti­cle 1, Sec­tion 10, UIFSA 2008 is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and the fed­er­al man­date to make UIFSA 2008 a state law is unconstitutional.

 The Open Door

The last sen­tence in the pre­vi­ous quot­ed para­graph, “In time, it is antic­i­pat­ed the new Hague Main­te­nance Con­ven­tion will achieve a high lev­el of inte­gra­tion with many oth­er coun­tries” is a win­dow into the think­ing of the ULC which is an expan­sion of inter­na­tion­al law and a fur­ther incur­sion into state law through the mech­a­nism of ascen­sion to this treaty and as a prece­dent to oth­er as yet unnamed inter­na­tion­al con­ven­tions. This con­cern gains legit­i­ma­cy from the num­ber and nature of “open doors” in the lan­guage of the Con­ven­tion itself – specif­i­cal­ly (but not lim­it­ed to) as follows:

  • Arti­cle 7 with ref­er­ence to Arti­cle 6(2) b), c), g), h), i), and j) when no appli­ca­tion under Arti­cle 10 is pend­ing.
  • Arti­cle 8(2) Cen­tral Author­i­ties may not impose any charge on an appli­cant for the pro­vi­sion of their ser­vices under the Con­ven­tion save for excep­tion­al costs aris­ing from a request for a spe­cif­ic mea­sure under Arti­cle 7.
  • Arti­cle 10 – Bases for recog­ni­tion and enforce­ment, habit­u­al residence.
  • Arti­cle 53 – In the inter­pre­ta­tion of this Con­ven­tion, regard shall be had to its inter­na­tion­al char­ac­ter and to the need to pro­mote uni­for­mi­ty in its application.
  • Arti­cle 54 – The Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of The Hague Con­fer­ence on Pri­vate Inter­na­tion­al Law shall at reg­u­lar inter­vals con­vene a Spe­cial Com­mis­sion in order to review the prac­ti­cal oper­a­tion of the Con­ven­tion and to encour­age the devel­op­ment of good practices…
  • Arti­cle 55 – The forms annexed to this Con­ven­tion may be amend­ed by a deci­sion of a Spe­cial Com­mis­sion con­vened by the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of the Hague Con­fer­ence on Pri­vate Inter­na­tion­al Law.

The pre­am­ble of the Hague Convention7  includes the fol­low­ing statement:

Seek­ing to take advan­tage of advances in tech­nolo­gies and to cre­ate a flex­i­ble sys­tem which can con­tin­ue to evolve as needs change and fur­ther advances in tech­nol­o­gy cre­ate new opportunities,

Recall­ing that, in accor­dance with Arti­cles 3 and 27 of the Unit­ed Nations Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child of 20 Novem­ber 1989,”

When the U.S. Sen­ate issued the Advice and Con­sent, it was with the fol­low­ing Amendment8:

To pro­vide an under­stand­ing that the pre­am­ble to the Treaty does not cre­ate any oblig­a­tion of the Unit­ed States under the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child as a mat­ter of Unit­ed States or inter­na­tion­al law.”

The UIFSA mod­el lan­guage for state ascen­sion to The Hague Con­ven­tion refers to the Con­ven­tion as con­clud­ed at The Hague on Novem­ber 23rd, 2007. There is no qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Amend­ment in the Sen­ate Advice and Con­sent nor does the Amend­ment for the Unit­ed States include the States specif­i­cal­ly as would be expect­ed giv­en the require­ment for indi­vid­ual state ascen­sion to the treaty. This leaves an open door for ele­ments of the Unit­ed Nations Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child through state law despite the lack of rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the UN Con­ven­tion by the Senate.

Extortion through Cooperative Federalism

In a paper writ­ten by Eric Fish, Senior Direc­tor of Legal Ser­vices of the Fed­er­al of State Med­ical Boards titled, Enforc­ing Inter­na­tion­al Oblig­a­tions through Coop­er­a­tive Fed­er­al­ism9, on page 46 he dis­cuss­es the con­di­tions required to force the states to accept fed­er­al man­dates under the sys­tem of “coop­er­a­tive

fed­er­al­ism”. Extortive man­dates are con­sid­ered con­sti­tu­tion­al only if they meet the fol­low­ing tests:

1) The exer­cise of the spend­ing pow­er must be in pur­suit of the gen­er­al welfare

2) Con­gress must exer­cise the spend­ing pow­er unam­bigu­ous­ly, allow­ing states to exer­cise their choice inde­pen­dent­ly but with full cog­nizance of the reper­cus­sions of the choice

3) The con­di­tions must be relat­ed to the fed­er­al inter­est in par­tic­u­lar nation­al projects and programs

4) The terms of con­di­tion­al spend­ing must not run afoul of oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al provisions

Spend­ing pow­er includes the pow­er to with­hold promised funds which is the threat to the states if they do not pass the UIFSA 2008 leg­is­la­tion. The man­date for the states to pass the UIFSA does not serve the gen­er­al wel­fare of the Amer­i­can pub­lic and the extor­tion demand of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment holds hostage the most vul­ner­a­ble of Amer­i­cans – the children.

The Unit­ed States and the states have an inter­state com­pact to coor­di­nate and enforce child sup­port oblig­a­tions across state bor­ders. That sys­tem was in the nation­al inter­est. UIFSA expands that sys­tem to the inter­na­tion­al lev­el mak­ing it an inter­na­tion­al sys­tem. That makes UIFSA an inter­na­tion­al project not a nation­al project. Since it also runs afoul of Arti­cle 1, Sec­tion 10 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, the fed­er­al man­date for the states to pass the UIFSA 2008 into state law is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. Fail­ure to defend states’ rights would be malfea­sance and dere­lic­tion of duty by the state’s Attor­ney General.


There is plen­ty of legal analy­sis to be found con­cern­ing the UIFSA 2008, but there is a dearth of sys­tems analy­sis and the impact of this Con­ven­tion as it per­tains to secu­ri­ty issues con­cern­ing data, the pro­tec­tion of chil­dren and fam­i­lies, and the con­trol of process when a for­eign enti­ty “owns” the system.

The Civ­il Jus­tice Pro­gramme of the Euro­pean Union is spon­sor­ing the devel­op­ment of the data exchange sys­tem to facil­i­tate the cross-bor­der case man­age­ment. The name of the sys­tem is iSupport10  and “the objec­tive is to devel­op, with­in a two-year peri­od, an elec­tron­ic case man­age­ment and secure sys­tem to facil­i­tate the cross– bor­der recov­ery of main­te­nance oblig­a­tions under the EU 2009 Main­te­nance Reg­u­la­tion and the 2007 Hague Child Sup­port Convention.

From a sys­tems point of view, there would be no dif­fer­ence between a child sup­port enforce­ment case between Ida­ho and Cal­i­for­nia and a child sup­port enforce­ment case between Cal­i­for­nia and Mex­i­co. This begs the ques­tion; does the HHS intend to replace the nation­al sys­tem of child sup­port enforce­ment case man­age­ment with the inter­na­tion­al sys­tem (iSup­port) child sup­port enforce­ment case man­age­ment sys­tem? There would be noth­ing to pre­vent them from doing that and by so doing, they would be trans­fer­ring the extor­tion option for use of the sys­tem and the funds they con­trol – to either the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion or to the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of the Hague Conference.

In the Sen­ate Exec­u­tive Report11 that accom­pa­nies the Advice and Con­sent of the sen­ate for the Hague Con­ven­tion, the fol­low­ing is an exchange between Sen­a­tor Ben Cardin and Vic­ki Turet­sky, com­mis­sion­er in the Office of Child Sup­port Enforce­ment at the Depart­ment of HHS: (empha­sis added)

Sen­a­tor Cardin. I have one last ques­tion for either or both you, and that is: How much is this need­ed in the Unit­ed States? Do you have any doc­u­men­ta­tion as to the lev­el of child sup­port that goes uncol­lect­ed and may very well be col­lect­ed if the Con­ven­tion is wide­ly rat­i­fied? Or is this your gut?  I mean, do we have any doc­u­men­ta­tion of what may be involved here?

Ms. Turet­sky. Sen­a­tor, we don’t have a hard pro­jec­tion of dol­lars. We esti­mate that about 1 per­cent of our case­load is inter­na­tion­al, in the sense that one par­ent lives in a dif­fer­ent coun­try. What we do have is anec­do­tal infor­ma­tion from par­ents who have writ­ten to us, who say, you know, “I’m liv­ing here. I have a sup­port order. My—the par­ent of my child lives in anoth­er coun­try. I don’t know what to do. I under­stand there’s no agree­ment with that coun­try. What can I do? And so, we know that there are a num­ber of fam­i­lies that are going to be affect­ed by a ful­ly rat­i­fied treaty. We don’t know how that case­load will grow over time.

But, we’re—you know we’re sen­si­ble of the fact that we’re, you know an increas­ing­ly glob­al world, and that par­ents do move around. And in our case­load, where par­ents are liv­ing apart, the like­li­hood of one par­ent liv­ing in one coun­try and anoth­er par­ent liv­ing in our coun­try is like­ly to grow over time. So we’re real­ly plan­ning for the future here.

So the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this treaty boils down to ben­e­fit­ting a few fam­i­lies based on anec­do­tal evi­dence. The inter­na­tion­al cases–the 1% are already han­dled so they wouldn’t ben­e­fit from the treaty over and above the ser­vice they are already receiving.

By any rea­son­able stan­dard, Ms. Turetsky’s expla­na­tion of the neces­si­ty for par­tic­i­pa­tion in this treaty doesn’t meet even the barest min­i­mum of stan­dards for jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for a change this large. The only plau­si­ble expla­na­tion is that the inter­na­tion­al sys­tem will replace the nation­al sys­tem there­by sav­ing the expense of main­te­nance of the nation­al sys­tem. We can’t know because there has been no analy­sis of this com­put­er sys­tem that is avail­able for pub­lic review. One obvi­ous prob­lem is that if they do replace the nation­al sys­tem with the inter­na­tion­al sys­tem, the “inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty” would have sig­nif­i­cant lever­age over domes­tic pol­i­cy through con­trol of the sys­tem and con­trol of the child sup­port funds – includ­ing poten­tial­ly domes­tic funds that would flow through it in pre­cise­ly the same way that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is using extor­tion hold­ing chil­dren whose par­ents receive child sup­port pay­ments through the nation­al child sup­port enforce­ment sys­tem hostage to force accep­tance of UIFSA 2008.

Indian Tribes and the Relationships to the States

The leg­is­la­tion that includ­ed the man­date for the states to pass UIFSA 2008 into state law was H.R. 4980 Pre­vent­ing Sex Traf­fick­ing and Strength­en­ing Fam­i­lies Act passed into law by the 113th Con­gress. Title III, Sec­tion 302 Child Sup­port Enforce­ment Pro­grams for Indi­an Tribes. The exist­ing law is changed as follows:

An Indi­an tribe or trib­al orga­ni­za­tion oper­at­ing a pro­gram under sec­tion 455(f) shall be con­sid­ered a State for pur­pos­es of author­i­ty to con­duct an exper­i­men­tal, pilot, or demon­stra­tion project under sub­sec­tion (a) to assist in pro­mot­ing the objec­tives of part D of title IV and receiv­ing pay­ments under the sec­ond sen­tence of that sub­sec­tion. The Sec­re­tary may waive com­pli­ance with any require­ments of sec­tion 455(f) or reg­u­la­tions pro­mul­gat­ed under that sec­tion to the extent and for the peri­od the Sec­re­tary finds nec­es­sary for an Indi­an tribe or trib­al orga­ni­za­tion to car­ry out such project…

In a pre­vi­ous para­graph, it appears that Tribes are being giv­en access to the Fed­er­al Par­ent Loca­tor Ser­vice which includes asset search­es. If there is any restric­tion on trib­al access to asset infor­ma­tion on non-trib­al mem­bers, it’s not show­ing here – and in fact, access would be a sim­ple rule with­in the sys­tem itself.


With tribes being con­sid­ered as states for the pur­pose of UIFSA 2008 leg­is­la­tion which includes by spe­cif­ic ref­er­ence the Hague Con­ven­tion, pre­sum­ably the Tribes will become par­ties to the Hague Con­ven­tion on the same lev­el as states but with­out the reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work and data secu­ri­ty pro­hi­bi­tions inher­ent in state and fed­er­al law. With con­sid­er­a­tion for Arti­cle 7 (request for infor­ma­tion when an appli­ca­tion is not pend­ing) of the Hague Con­ven­tion which is an open door to asset search­es, this leaves open the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an “infor­ma­tion for sale” busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Tribes on mat­ters unre­lat­ed to a child sup­port case and not involv­ing mem­bers of a tribe.


In sum­ma­ry, the UIFSA 2008 is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and the method being employed to push it down the throats of the states is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. There has been too much obfus­ca­tion and too many ques­tions with too few answers. The leg­is­la­ture – and in par­tic­u­lar, the leg­is­la­tors who are also mem­bers of the bar need to remem­ber the oaths they took when they were sworn. Both of the oaths include affir­ma­tion to pro­tect and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion. On that basis along, they should all vote NO on S.1067 that inte­grates the Hague Con­ven­tion into state law.






1 Nation­al Con­fer­ence of Com­mis­sion­ers on Uni­form State Laws aka Uni­form Law Com­mis­sion (ULC), Why States Should Adopt the Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act 2008 Amend­ments.

2 Nation­al Con­fer­ence of Com­mis­sion­ers on Uni­form State Laws aka Uni­form Law Com­mis­sion (ULC), The Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act Amend­ments (2008) –A Sum­ma­ry.

3 Ibid

4 Nation­al Con­fer­ence of Com­mis­sion­ers on Uni­form State Laws, Draft­ing Com­mit­tee, Annu­al Con­fer­ence in Big Sky Mon­tana, July 18–25, 2008, Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act (Last Amend­ed or Revised in 2008), Final Act with Revised Prefa­to­ry Note and Com­ments.

5 Depart­ment of Health & Human Ser­vices, Office of Child Sup­port Enforce­ment, P.L. 113–183 UIFSA 2008 Enact­ment, Action Trans­mit­tal AT-14–11, pub­lished Octo­ber 9, 2014.

6 Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act, 2008 Amend­ments to the Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act, Draft­ed by the Nation­al Con­fer­ence of Com­mis­sion­ers on Uni­form State Laws, July 18–25 Conference.

7 Hague Con­fer­ence on Pri­vate Inter­na­tion­al Law, Con­ven­tion on the Inter­na­tion­al Recov­ery of Child Sup­port and Oth­er Forms of Fam­i­ly Main­te­nance con­clud­ed 23 Novem­ber 2007.

8 Hague Con­ven­tion on the Inter­na­tion­al Recov­ery of Child Sup­port and Oth­er Forms of Fam­i­ly Main­te­nance, adopt­ed at The Hague on Novem­ber 23, 2007, Sen­ate Con­sid­er­a­tion of Treaty Doc­u­ment 110–21,

9 Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Mat­ri­mo­ni­al Lawyers, Vol. 24, p. 33, 2011, Eric M. Fish, The Uni­form Inter­state Fam­i­ly Sup­port Act (UIFSA) 2008: Enforc­ing Inter­na­tion­al Oblig­a­tions Through Coop­er­a­tive Fed­er­al­ism,

10 Hague Con­fer­ence on Pri­vate Inter­na­tion­al Law, iSup­port Sec­tion,

11Senate Exec­u­tive Report 111–2, Hague Con­ven­tion on the Inter­na­tion­al Recov­ery of Child Sup­port and Oth­er Forms of Fam­i­ly Main­te­nance (Treaty Doc. 110–21), Mr. Ker­ry, from the Com­mit­tee on For­eign Rela­tions, sub­mit­ted the Report, quote from page 25 (adobe).