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International child support treaty supported by U.S. Congress

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a law making it easier for state child support agencies to collect payments from parents living in another country. The 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance was amended by a voice vote in the House ensuring that international governments would enforce U.S. law.

The law has also been agreed to by 15 countries including the European Union, Ukraine, Albania, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because many foreign countries do not have processes in place to enforce U.S. child support obligations, this bill will help ensure cooperation. The agreement also provides a standardized way of sharing information with those countries.

Without a bilateral agreement and process in place, child support agencies have reported that it is nearly impossible to collect payments. Even with countries the U.S. does have diplomatic and child support agency relationships with, it can often take up to five years for families to receive child support.

Now that more and more American parents are living, serving and emigrating to foreign countries, such an agreement is more necessary than ever. The Hague Convention also provides for the return of wrongfully removed or detained children in another country and guarantees that the rights of parents in one country are respected in another.

When dealing with the difficulties and sensitivities of parental rights and laws in other countries it is essential that parents get the expert advice of family lawyers who specialize in these types of cases. Often, expediency is vital when dealing with foreign governments and child support, custody and abduction cases.

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

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