When parents are separated or divorced, it is not uncommon for one or both of them to move to another state or country to get a fresh start or pursue a career. However, when parents relocate, there may be issues with foreign and out-of-state child support orders, especially if the obligor parent fails or refuses to pay. But can the parent who receives child support enforce the support order when the obligor parent moves to another state or country? In this situation, the recipient parent may be concerned about the continued receipt of child support payments – and understandably so. Unfortunately, parents who have an obligation to financially support their children may leave the state or country in an attempt to avoid paying child support. The experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group help separated and divorced parents fully understand their rights and obligations when dealing with foreign and out-of-state child support orders. Reach out to Johnson Law Group by calling (720) 463-4333 or start a chat with our attorneys at (720) 730-4558.
There are mechanisms and procedures in place that allow enforcement of child support orders that were issued in another state. The party seeking the enforcement of an out-of-state child support order may not need to register the order in the new state. Enforcing a child support order in another state can be as simple as submitting certain documents, including a copy of the out-of-state order, to the appropriate support agency in their respective state. The agency will review the documentation submitted by the party seeking enforcement to decide whether or not the order can be enforced through administrative means. If not, the order may need to be registered in a state other than where it was originally issued. However, registration is not necessary if the other party agrees to the administrative enforcement.
Out-of-state child support orders are governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which allows the transfer of child support orders from one state to another. But what is the purpose of transferring out-of-state orders to another state?
When the transfer is complete, the state to which the order is transferred has jurisdiction over the order, including its enforcement and modification. In that case, the state that initially issued the order would lose jurisdiction.
Enforcing a child support order outside the United States may be possible, depending on the country where the obligor parent currently resides. However, the parent who wants to seek enforcement of a child support order outside the country must have a valid order issued by a court in the United States. If you need help enforcing or modifying a child support order that was issued in another state or country, you can contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options. Attorneys at Johnson Law Group regularly assist clients who need help with the enforcement of foreign and out-of-state child support orders.
Currently, more than 50 countries around the world that agreed to cooperate with the United States on matters related to the enforcement of child support orders that were issued in the United States. The full list of countries that signed agreements with the United States to help enforce child support orders can be viewed on the website of the United States Department of Health & Human Services.
But how does it work? For example, if the child’s parent who owns child support moves to Canada (or any other country on the list), the recipient parent will first need to contact their state’s child support agency to initiate the enforcement process. The agency will typically contact the necessary office of child support enforcement in Canada (or another country where the obligor parent currently resides) to enforce the order.
Unfortunately, not all countries have agreed to cooperate with the United States on the enforcement of child support. Often, individual states sign their own agreements with neighboring countries (for example, with Mexico) to enforce child support orders. If a parent moves to a country that is not on the list, consider contacting an experienced attorney to check state laws and explore your options for enforcing child support.
When the obligor parent lives in a country that is not on the list, the recipient parent may need to get that country to issue a new child support order to be able to enforce it. However, to make things even more complicated, not all countries have the necessary laws in place to collect or enforce child support orders. That is why you may need to consider working with a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the laws in the foreign country and explain the ways to enforce child support.
While the United States Constitution protects an American’s right to travel wherever and whenever they like, there are restrictions for parents who want to leave the country but are behind on child support payments. According to the United States Department of State, individuals with $2,500 or more in child support arrears are ineligible for a passport. In other words, parents who owe child support will not be issued a United States passport as long as they have more than $2,500 in arrears.
Dealing with foreign and out-of-state child support orders can be a complicated matter. If you need help enforcing or modifying a child support order when the obligor parent has moved to another state or country, consider contacting a family law attorney. Our attorneys at Johnson Law Group assist clients with all issues related to child support. We are available at (720) 463-4333 for a phone consultation or at (720) 730-4558 for text-to-chat.