As single parents in Joliet may know, collecting child support can be incredibly difficult sometimes, even when the other parent lives just across town. Matters become exponentially tougher when a parent with support obligations leaves the country. However, the process may become a little less arduous if the United States ratifies a proposed treaty that would enforce child support obligations among countries.
The House of Representatives approved a bill earlier this month that puts the United States on a path toward ratifying the results of the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Although several countries have signed the treaty, Norway is the only nation by which it has been ratified.
In 2010, the U.S. Senate provided its approval of the treaty, but new legislation originating from the House still requires Senate approval before the treaty can be fully implemented in the U.S.
Although the United States has individual agreements concerning child support enforcement with over a dozen different countries, officials say international claims for child support are often processed very slowly, if at all. If ratified, the treaty would standardize the way in which information about child support claims is shared between countries. Proponents of the treaty also hope it would empower states to enforce obligations of parents who have left the country. According to the National Child Support Enforcement Association, rising rates of international travel have left an increasing number of children in America without the support to which they are entitled.
While divorce and child custody issues can be contentious, children should never get caught in the crossfire of animosity between parents. While non-custodial parents sometimes feel as if they have lost something by not being the primary caretaker of the child, it's important that children not bear the brunt of parental hostility or apathy.
Source: The Washington Post, "House acts on international child support treaty," Associated Press, June 5, 2012