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International enforcement of child support orders

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2022 | Family Law

It’s no secret that raising children in New York can be expensive. Following a divorce, child support is often a critical financial resource that can play a significant role in a child’s life.

When one parent lives outside the country, a common concern is how to enforce a child support order. Fortunately, there are legal mechanisms in place to enforce U.S. child support orders.

The Hague Convention

To aid in enforcing child support orders across international boundaries, the United States and numerous other nations signed a treaty known as The Hague Convention on the Recovery of Child Support. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/css/partners/international

Signatories to the treaty, which include Canada and many European nations, have agreed to enforce most child support orders issued by a court in another signatory country. While the procedures vary by country, each nation has established procedures allowing for enforcement of child support orders.

Enforcement mechanisms include withholding a parent’s income or garnishing their bank accounts or financial assets.

Even if a nation is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, it may still be possible to enforcement child support orders through that nation’s courts.

Enforcing child support orders

Regardless of whether a nation has signed The Hague Convention, international enforcement of child support order is a complicated process. It is necessary to locate the parent living abroad and arrange for notice of a claim. Documentation of the child support order and coordination with state or federal child support agencies are often also needed.

Given these complexities, parties should consult an experienced attorney to assist in the process.