How Does International Child Support Work?

How Does International Child Support Work?

Child support issues are rarely straightforward. A host of factors, including differences in state laws governing child support calculus and enforcement, tend to influence the unique child support orders assigned to each family affected by such obligations under the law. It is therefore probably not surprising that child support issues tend to become increasingly complex when they are affected by the laws, enforcement mechanisms and processes of more than one country’s legal system.

It is for this reason that parents attempting to navigate challenges related to international child support may sincerely benefit from speaking with an attorney about their situation. It is not easy to resolve any disputes, administrative challenges and questions about international child support without experienced legal guidance. With that said, it can be helpful for parents to keep a few basics in mind when preparing to meet with a family law attorney experienced in the area of international child support law.

Child Support Orders Originating Within the United States

U.S courts are generally willing to enforce child support orders handed down by a domestic court. But one cannot always guarantee that foreign courts will honor your American child support orders. Many countries have entered into reciprocal agreements with the U.S. which allows for the enforcement of American orders. You will need to talk to your attorney about whether the other country’s laws impacting your situation are governed by a reciprocal agreement. It may be the case that you can only seek enforcement by taking your child’s other parent to court in the affected foreign country, as a U.S. court’s judgment is not necessarily going to hand down enforceable consequences if your child’s other parent does not live here or regularly travel here.

Child Support Orders Originating Outside the United States

It is important to understand that child support laws are rapidly evolving in some areas of the world. As a result, there are few “hard and fast” rules in place regarding orders that have originated outside the U.S. While American courts are generally willing to honor and enforce child support orders handed down by foreign courts, things make get tricky if your child’s other parent tries to modify those orders within a foreign court. Under these circumstances, an attorney may need to advise you of your options after learning the specific details of your case. If your child’s other parent lives in a so-called “reciprocating country” your case may be more straightforward than it may be if this designation does not apply to your situation.

Child Support Assistance Is Available

If you have questions about either domestic or international child support matters, please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced family law attorney. Once an attorney learns about the specific details surrounding your child support situation, he or she will be able to advise you according to whatever legal options may be available to you at this time. International child support challenges tend to be particularly nuanced and complex, so please consider seeking legal guidance from a family law lawyer in Rockville, MD rather than attempting to resolve them on your own. A bit of preparation now may save you significant financial headaches down the road.

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and international child support.

Scroll to Top