Many parents struggling with enforcing child support orders face a difficult battle, even when the other parent lives just on the other side of town. Imagine the complications that arise when that parent lives on the other side of the world. Enforcement of child support across borders has long been a legal nightmare for the parents who remain in Illinois and elsewhere in the United States, with the struggle sometimes leading to the cessation of payment altogether.

However, help may be on the way for parents who are trying to collect unpaid child support in cases in which the other parent is living or working abroad. Recent legislation passed by the House will pave the way for U.S. ratification of the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The Senate gave consent to signing the treaty in 2010, and the bill for ratification will now go back to the Senate for approval.

The United States joins the European Union and several other countries in signing the treaty. Currently, only one nation, Norway, has ratified it. One of the main benefits of joining in the treaty is the establishment of standardized processes for sharing information across borders. This type of cooperation is essential in making sure that existing child support orders are enforced, regardless of the location of either parent.

U.S. participation in this treaty has received wide support in Illinois and across the country. The National Child Support Enforcement Association has taken a strong position on the need for ratification, pointing out that more parents are crossing borders, which means more children are being left behind without the proper level of child support. Parents across the U.S. will watch as this bill makes its way through the channels toward ratification.

Source: Daily Reporter, “House acts on international child support treaty,” Jim Abrams, June 5, 2012