Child Support Enforcement Outside The United States

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Can I Enforce My Child Support Agreement Outside The United States?

Yes, if your child's other parent has left the United States and owes you child support, you can still enforce the order in some foreign countries. However, you should first attempt all of the traditional methods of child support enforcement.

In What Counties Can I Enforce a Child Support Order?

Congress has established child support enforcement treaties with these countries:

Contact and work closely with your state's child support agency. They will have the resources to contact the necessary offices abroad to enforce your child support agreement.

What If My Spouse Lives In a Country That Is Not In That List?

Even if there are no federal agreements with the country, your state may have an individual agreement with that country, particularly countries that are close to the state such as Mexico or nations in the Caribbean. If there is no state or federal agreement, then a child support agreement can only be enforced by a local tribunal. Have your attorney check state laws to see if the state has established an agreement with that country.

How Can I Locate an Absent Parent Overseas?

Check U.S. embassies for information regarding whether a person has registered with a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. More detailed information, however, is usually protected by privacy acts and cannot be revealed. U.S. embassies do not have the personnel to help you find a missing parent, but they can usually refer you to a local investigator.

If the absent parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces, the military has a wide variety of resources to help enforce your child support agreements and will locate the person. If the absent parent is an employee of the Department of State or Foreign Service, the government has similar resources to help.

If I Owe Child Support, Will I Be Able To Leave The Country?

A parent who owes more than $4,000 in child support obligations will have their passport application denied and any existing passports may be revoked.

Do I Need a Family Attorney?

An attorney will be able to guide you through the process of enforcing a child support agreement, dealing with government agencies, and possibly dealing with foreign agencies as well. If your passport has been denied or revoked because of outstanding child support obligations, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney immediately.

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Last Modified: 03-11-2013 04:36 PM PDT

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