What to know about International Child Support Laws
Ordinarily, the state in which you reside manages the calculation and payment of child support via a state-level agency. But how do you calculate and collect child support if you, the custodial parent, live in the U.S. but your child’s non-custodial parent lives in a foreign country?
Seeking child support from a person in a foreign country can be complicated and take time. In an effort to alleviate some of the complication, the U.S. has created two key reciprocity agreements with foreign nations. First, the U.S. has a reciprocity arrangement with all the countries that have joined the Hague Convention. On January 1, 2017, the U.S. became a participating member of the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Joining this convention has streamlined the process of obtaining support from Hague Convention countries. Second, the U.S. has reciprocity arrangements with Foreign Reciprocating Countries (FRC), such as Canada and countries that have not joined the Hague Convention. With these reciprocity arrangements, the U.S. is better able to timely provide you and your family with the child support you are entitled to.
So, who should you contact to obtain child support from a Hague Convention country or an FRC? To further assist families seeking child support, the U.S. created the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), which works with Hague members, FRC’s, and other countries. The type of assistance the OSCE provides regarding child support depends on whether the custodial parent lives in the U.S. or a foreign nation. The OCSE explains that “if the custodial parent lives in the United States and the parent who owes child support lives in a Hague Convention country or a [FRC], the other country will assist the U.S. in working the case.” Meanwhile, if the custodial parent lives in the foreign country, the U.S. will assist the foreign country.
But what should you do if you live in the U.S. and the non-custodial parent does not live in a Hague Convention country or an FRC? Fortunately, several states have created state-level reciprocity arrangements with foreign countries. Thus, you can work with your state’s agency to obtain support. However, if your state does not have a state-level reciprocity arrangement with the foreign country, your best option is to hire an attorney in the foreign country. Hiring an attorney in a foreign country may sound daunting, but the U.S. Department of State provides a helpful list of how to retain a foreign attorney. Additionally, local law firms may be able to provide you with foreign recommendations.
For assistance in obtaining child support from a parent in a foreign country, please contact Spindler and Associates. We have years of experience and know the laws and court procedures for Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, Genesee and Washtenaw Counties where our attorneys have practiced for years. Contact Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 to schedule a consultation. The Oakland County law office is conveniently located in Milford, Michigan. Our service area includes these communities: Milford, Waterford, Walled Lake, Commerce, Highland, Hartland, White Lake, Commerce, South Lyon, Linden, New Hudson, Wixom, Holly, Fenton, Grand Blanc and many more.