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Collecting child support payments from another country

Congress has passed legislation that is intended to make it easier for custodial parents to collect child support payments from individuals now living outside of the United States. The measure allows the United States to ratify an international treaty where participating nations would cooperate to prevent non-custodial parents from avoiding paying their child support obligations after fleeing to other countries.

Especially in a coastal state like Florida, this legislation will be welcomed by parents that have had a difficult time in receiving such child support. However, it should not be assumed that such legislation will automatically resolve the problem. Family law attorneys will still have to work closely with other nations to collect such child support, and there will likely remain a number of other legal obstacles that will need to be surmounted before such a collection can be accomplished.

Several nations have ratified the treaty known as the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. However, before the United States can ratify it, the United States Senate will also need to vote on the congressional measure.

There are several thousand parents in many states that have been unable to collect such child support because the non-custodial parent has attempted to flee their obligations by hiding in another country. Even if other nations are cooperative in forcing parents to honor their obligations, it can still take years before such payments are made. The collection process will likely remain slow, even with the new legislation, but hopefully attorneys can be involved in the process to help move matters along.

Sadly, some parents will make it as difficult as possible for the other parent to collect child support payments that are still owed. Parents do not always consider what's in the best interest of the child. In the long run, when a parent avoids paying its child support obligations it's usually the child that suffers the most.

Source: Daily Reporter, "House acts on international child support treaty," by Jim Abrams, June 5, 2012

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