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Foreign child support orders may be easier to enforce soon

The 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance was signed by the United States and several other countries, but only one nation has actually ratified the agreement that could change the way that international child support is handled, one new bill in Congress hopes to add our country to the ratification list. Recently, the bill to ratify the treaty was approved by voice vote in the House of Representatives.

For those who have child support orders in Ohio that apply to parents who reside outside of the country, the new bill could have a significant impact. Under current rules, in many cases the United States enforces child support orders from some 15 countries with which we currently have separate agreements. Unfortunately, the reverse is said to be less true, and child support issued in our country can take years to be enforced abroad. This understandably hurts families trying to raise kids on limited incomes without the benefit of receiving child support that has already been ordered by a U.S. court.

If the treaty ratification is approved by the Senate and signed into law, one of its main aims would be to improve communication between signatory countries trying to enforce child support orders. This communication may assist enforcement officials in finding parents who reside outside of the US. With as many as 4,000 to 5,000 foreign child support cases in one state alone, ratification of the treaty could have a wide-ranging impact if other countries ratify it as well.

Regardless of whether the child support order is for a parent living in Ohio or in another country, the need for money to assist in the raising of a child is real. Without assistance, it is often difficult for many custodial parents to provide for their children. Now, for the many with non-custodial parents living in another country, ordered child support orders will hopefully be coming sooner rather than later.

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

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