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The International Treaty to Streamline Child Support Payments & Enforcement

What happens if one parent who owes money for child support moves abroad? The United States has spent years trying to address this very issue in the form of an international treaty aimed at making it easier to track these parents down. However, its implementation depends upon each U.S. state approving the details by passing their own legislation.

States Currently In a Bind

Currently, a state that needs to collect child support payments from a parent living abroad must make an agreement with that particular nation. The treaty would essentially streamline the process and automatically allow participant countries (which are up to around 32 at this point) to enforce child support judgments.

What’s Needed

While many have implemented the treaty measures, that still leaves others that still need to take action in order to remove any potential roadblocks to the treaty’s effectiveness. Specifically, each state has to pass a bill to put that state in line with current federal guidelines on child support, which includes measures addressed in the treaty.

Florida is one of the states that has adopted the federal guidelines on child support—the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (the current 2008 version). This allows Florida to make an arrangement with a foreign country for enforcement of support and continue to receive federal child support enforcement funding from the U.S. federal government. What this means is that if one parent moves abroad, Florida still retains jurisdiction over child support payments (unless of course both parents agree in writing that the other country should have jurisdiction).

Benefit to Children

The treaty has received support from a lot of groups such as the National Child Support Enforcement Association, which has indicated that implementing the treaty would make a significant dent in the levels of poverty some children with one parent abroad are living in.

In addition, any states that fail to implement the treaty in the form of state legislation could lose millions in federal funds, effectively dismantling their own child support enforcement system and losing funds that go directly towards helping low-income children in their state. Some have referred to this battle as one between the federal and state government which has “children… caught in the middle.”

Talk To Us about Child Support

If you are dealing with separation or divorce and have children, setting up the appropriate child support payments will be an integral next step for your family. If you live in Florida, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to schedule a consultation. We are familiar with all issues related to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act and the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, as well as all associated jurisdictional issues. We are here to help ensure that you and your family are supported.

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