The government is ordered to deny the passport application of a person who owes child support of at least $5,000.
Eunique’s marriage was dissolved in California. Her husband was awarded custody of the children. She was ordered to pay child support. She failed to pay the ordered amounts. She became in arrears for more than $20,000. The arrearage kept growing.
She is unable or unwilling to pay her child support obligations. Nonetheless, she wants to travel internationally to visit a sister in Mexico.
Eunique applied for a passport. California had already certified to the Secretary of Health and Human Services that she owed “arrearages of child support in an amount exceeding $5,000.”
Congress has provided federal funds to help the states collect child support. In return, Congress required that there be a state plan for child support. It must include a “procedure for certifying to the Secretary … determinations that individuals owe arrearages of child support in an amount exceeding $5,000.”
There is no dispute that California has adopted a procedure and that it followed the procedure in this case. The Secretary of Health and Human Services received that certification and was required by law to transmit it “to the Secretary of State for action.
Eunique appealed. The Appellate Court agreed that the denial of her passport was constitutional.
Eunique v. Powell, F.3d 971.