International divorce child support treaty approved by House

In an ever-broadening global landscape, the issue of international child support is a growing concern. What happens when one parent picks up and moves to another country after a divorce, leaving behind the other parent with the children and no clear method of collecting child support across national borders? It is an often grim situation fraught with financial challenges, as some Texas residents known all too well. It can be extremely difficult to enforce child support agreements when parents move out of the country.

Recently, legislation made it through the U.S. House of Representatives that would improve a state’s ability to collect child support payments from parents who have moved to other countries. This legislation would begin the process of ratifying a 2007 treaty requiring participating nations to honor lawful child support arrangements reached by other member nations. The legislation’s sponsor says that the bill is meant to empower states to assist families in collecting owed child support.

The Senate consented to the treaty in 2010, but would need to approve the new legislation intended to give that treaty actual teeth. This international child support agreement would also set up a standardized method of sharing child support information with other countries. As of now, the U.S. has separate, bilateral child support agreements with 15 other nations. The treaty, which is global in scope, currently includes the U.S. and European Union along with other European countries. Interesting to note is that only Norway has thus far ratified the international child support treaty.

Texas parents who find themselves struggling to collect child support from former spouses who have moved to other nations may be anxiously waiting to hear if this treaty will be ratified. Hopefully, the legislation will have success in the Senate as it did in the House. Children deserve to receive the full amount of child support deemed appropriate by family law and Texas courts.

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

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