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How to collect child support internationally
Frequently Asked Questions about International Cases
Publication Date: July 30, 2014
In the United States, state-level child support agencies manage individual child support cases, with help when needed from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). Note that OCSE does not work individual child support cases directly. See the information for parents on OCSE's website for more about the U.S. child support program and the services that are available to children and families.
Child support cases involving foreign countries can be challenging, and they can take time to resolve. If you are a custodial parent, your country of residence and the country of residence of the other parent will affect the steps you take to obtain child support services. You will find more information about this on our International webpage. We also answer several frequently asked questions below.
Citizenship and Residency
Citizenship is not required for a person to apply for child support services.
Residency is not required for a person to apply for child support services. However, if you live outside the U.S., state law in the U.S. state you apply to will determine the help that the state can provide. (See FAQs under When the Custodial Parent Lives Outside the U.S.)
The Hague Child Support Convention and Foreign Reciprocating Countries
The 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (the Hague Convention) has been in effect in the United States since Jan. 1, 2017. The Hague Convention provides greater cooperation and streamlines case processing among participating countries.
In addition to the Hague Convention, the U.S. government has federal-level reciprocity arrangements for child support with several other countries, called Foreign Reciprocating Countries. See the lists of Hague Convention countries and Foreign Reciprocating Countries and links to other useful information on our International webpage.
If the custodial parent lives in the United States and the parent who owes child support lives in a Hague Convention country or a Foreign Reciprocating Country, the other country will assist the U.S. in working the case.
If the custodial parent lives in a Hague Convention country or a Foreign Reciprocating Country and the parent who owes child support lives in the United States, then the U.S. will assist the other country with its case.
If the country involved in your case is not a Hague Convention country or a Foreign Reciprocating Country, it may have a state-level arrangement with one or more U.S. states. For more information about state-level reciprocity and help with your case, see Q5.
When the Custodial Parent Lives in the U.S.
Since the U.S. government has reciprocity with the country where the person lives, that country has an agency called a Central Authority to help process international cases. You can apply for child support services in the U. S. state where you live, and the state child support agency will work the case directly with the other country.
Some states have negotiated state-level arrangements with other countries. You can see which countries your state has reciprocity with by checking OCSE's Intergovernmental Reference Guide. From the State drop-down, select your state and press "GO", then from the "Program Category" drop-down, select “C. Reciprocity” to see which countries the state has child support reciprocity with. You can also ask your local child support agency.
If your state has state-level reciprocity with the other country, you can apply for state child support services, and the state agency can work the case directly with the other country.
In most cases, when there is no reciprocity with the other country, state child support agencies are not able to assist. Contact your local child support agency to ask if it has any suggestions. See also Q9.
If your state child support agency is not able to provide child support services, you may choose to hire private legal counsel in the other country. The U.S. Department of State’s website provides helpful information on retaining a foreign attorney Visit disclaimer page.
To apply for child support services in the U.S., contact your state or local child support office. You can find your state child support agency website and general contact information on OCSE's online interactive map. From the map, click on your state to find the link to the state’s child support website. Some states can take applications online.
No. The state agency will provide the same services it would in a domestic case, to the extent possible, including locating a missing parent, establishing paternity, establishing a child support order, collecting support, and modifying and enforcing a support order. The types of services provided in a child support case sent to another country will depend on the facts of the case and the law of the other country, as well as the requirements of the international agreement that applies.
You should contact your state child support agency to see if they can provide any services. Keep in mind that services are likely to be limited. If a child support order has already been legally established, and if the other parent is working for a U.S. employer that has offices in the U.S., it may be possible to use income withholding or other legal remedies. The agency may also be able to provide services if the person owns assets in the U.S.
When the Custodial Parent Lives Outside the U.S.
Because your country of residence has federal reciprocity with the U.S., it has established a government agency as the child support Central Authority to assist you in sending your case to the appropriate U.S. state child support agency. You may apply for services directly with your country's child support Central Authority.
If you live in a Hague Convention country, you can find the address and contact information for your country's Central Authority on the Hague Conference website Visit disclaimer page. If you live in a Foreign Reciprocating Country, you can find these by following the links for your country from OCSE's International webpage.
Once your country’s Central Authority sends your case to the U.S. state, the state will provide services.
First, check to see if your country of residence has state-level reciprocity with the U.S. state where the person owing support lives. To find this out, contact the child support agency in your country. Or, you can check on OCSE's Intergovernmental Reference Guide. From the State drop-down, select your state and press "GO", then from the "Program Category" drop-down, select “C. Reciprocity” to see which countries that state has child support reciprocity with. If your country has state-level reciprocity with the state, contact the child support agency in your country for assistance.
If your country does not have federal or state-level reciprocity for child support, you may be able to apply directly for services with the child support agency in the U.S. state where the person owing support lives. Contact the state's child support agency to find out if they can provide services. You can find a state’s child support website and general contact information on our interactive map. From the map, click on the state. There will also be a link to the state’s website.
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen, or be living in the United States, to contact a U.S. state child support agency and ask for services.
If you reside in a Hague Convention country or a federal or state-level reciprocating country, you can apply for services through the child support Central Authority in your country. See Q10.
If you reside in a non-reciprocating country, you may be able to apply directly to the U.S. state child support agency where the person who owes support lives. See Q11.
If you have an existing child support order from a third country (not the United States and not a Hague Convention country or a Foreign Reciprocating Country), the child support agency in the U.S. state where the person owing support lives may be able to enforce the order. Contact the state agency to ask.
If you live in a Hague Convention country or a Foreign Reciprocating Country, you may apply for services through the government agency designated as the Central Authority for international child support in your country. The Central Authority in your country can ask the U.S. Central Authority (OCSE) for assistance in locating the parent owing support.
If you do not reside in a Hague Convention country or a Foreign Reciprocating Country, see Q11 for information on how to find out if a U.S. state can provide services.
If you reside in a Hague Convention country or a federal or state-level reciprocating country, you may apply for services through the government agency designated as the Central Authority for international child support in your country. See Q10.
If your country does not have a child support reciprocity arrangement with the U.S., you may be able to apply directly to the child support agency in the home state of the parent owing support. See Q11.
International Child Abduction
You may contact your local police department to file a missing persons report, even if you think you know where your child is. You may also contact the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs for assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. The United States places the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been abducted across borders. The U.S. Department of State’s website on International Parental Child Abduction Visit disclaimer page provides more information.
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Can I Enforce My Child Support Agreement Outside The United States?
Yes- depending on what country the child’s other parent is living in. First and foremost, you must have a valid child support order issued by a United States court. And in all cases you should always first attempt all of the traditional methods of child support enforcement before taking more drastic measures.
In What Counties May I Enforce a Child Support Order?
There are several countries that have signed agreements with the United States federal government saying that they will cooperate in helping enforce a child support order that was issued in the U.S. when the parent owing support lives in that country. The following countries have agreed to help enforce U.S.child support orders.
Bosnia and Herzegovinia
If the child’s other parent lives in one of the countries on this list, then the first step is to contact and work closely with your state’s child support agency. They will typically have the resources to contact the necessary offices abroad in order to enforce your child support agreement.
What If the Child’s Other Parent Lives In a Country That Is Not On That List?
Even if the country that your child’s other parent has moved to is not on the list, meaning there are no federal agreements with that country, individual U.S. states sometimes have an agreement with nearby countries (e.g. Mexico). Have your attorney check state laws to see if your state has established an agreement with a nearby country.
If there is no state or federal agreement, it still may be possible to collect child support, but it will be much more difficult. In such a situation, you would essentially have to get the foreign country to issue a child support order, and not all countries have child support laws. It is possible that you may not be able to enforce a child support order if the other parent lives in a country with no child support laws. You will almost certainly need an attorney to navigate the complex situation and advocate on your behalf if the other child’s parent lives in a country not on the list.
What if I Suspect My Child’s Other Parent Left the U.S., but I’m Not Sure Exactly Where They Are?
Sometimes a parent moves to a different country, at times perhaps for the purpose of avoiding the child support order. If your child’s other parent has left the country, check with U.S. embassies in countries that the parent may have moved to. They can tell you if the parent has registered with a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Detailed or confidential information, however, is usually protected by privacy acts and cannot be revealed. Foreign embassies do not have the personnel to help you find a missing parent, but they can usually refer you to a local investigator, if necessary.
If the absent parent is a U.S. government employee, such as a member of the United States Armed Forces, the U.S. has a wide variety of resources to help enforce your child support agreements and will locate the person.
What if I Live Abroad and Need to Seek Child Support from the Other Parent Living in the U.
If your child is a U.S. citizen and you are living abroad, then you will need to contact the child support agency in the state that the other parent lives in order to begin the process for obtaining child support. Child support laws differ between states, so you must contact the individual state office..
If I Owe Child Support, Will I Be Able To Leave The Country?
Because some parents who owe child support will intentionally leave the country to avoid having to make child support payments, the U.S. has a restriction regarding passports for anyone who owes past due child support. A parent who owes more than $2,500 in child support obligations will have their passport application denied and any existing passports may be revoked.Other countries have similar restrictions.
If you find yourself with a revoked passport or a denied passport application as a result of past due child support, the only sure fix is to pay the full amount of child support that you are behind.
Do I Need a Family Attorney for Help with Child Support Issues?
Enforcing a child support order internationally can get very complicated. An attorney will be able to guide you through the process of enforcing the child support agreement, dealing with government agencies, and possibly dealing with foreign agencies. If you need help enforcing a child support order while the child’s other parent lives in another country, contact a child support attorney immediately.
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Last Updated: Jul 9, 2020
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Convention on the Recovery of Alimony Abroad - Conventions and Agreements - Declarations, Conventions, Agreements and Other Legal Materials
Adopted on June 20, 1956
Considering the urgent need to resolve the humanitarian problem arising from the situation of those people in need
taking into account that litigation or collection of maintenance claims abroad involves serious legal and factual difficulties, and
Desiring to provide the means to solve such problems and overcome such difficulties,
The Contracting Parties have agreed as follows :
Purpose of the Convention
which is in the territory of any of the Contracting Parties, the recovery of maintenance which it claims to be entitled to receive from another person hereinafter referred to as the defendant, who is under the jurisdiction of any other Contracting Party. This goal is carried out by bodies, which are referred to below as transfer and intermediate instances.
2. The remedies provided for in this Convention are in addition to, but not a substitute for, all other remedies available under domestic or international law.
Designation of appropriate authorities
1. Each Contracting Party, at the time of the deposit of its instrument of ratification or accession, shall designate one or more administrative or judicial institutions to exercise the functions of transferring authorities in its territory.
2. Each Contracting Party shall, at the time of the deposit of its instrument of ratification or accession, designate a public or private institution to act in its territory as an intermediate authority.
3. Each Contracting Party shall notify without delay the Secretary General of the United Nations of the instructions given for the application of paragraphs 1 and 2 and of all changes relating thereto.
4. The said transfer authorities and intermediate authorities may enter into relations directly with the transfer authorities and intermediate authorities of other Contracting Parties.
Submitting a request to the referral authority
defendant”, then the plaintiff may file a request with a transfer authority in the state of the plaintiff for the recovery of maintenance from the defendant.
2. Each Contracting Party shall inform the Secretary General of what evidence is generally required under the law of the State of Intermediate to substantiate maintenance claims, in what order such evidence must be presented, and what other requirements must be met by that law.
3. The request must be accompanied by all relevant documents, including, where appropriate, a power of attorney authorizing the intermediate authority to act on the claimant's behalf or appoint some other person to act on the claimant's behalf. It must further be accompanied by a photograph of the complainant and, if possible, a photograph of the defendant.
4. The transfer authority shall take all possible measures to ensure that the requirements of the law of the state of the intermediate instance are observed. In addition to what is required by the provisions of this law, the request must contain the following information:
a ) name and surname, address, date of birth, citizenship and occupation of the claimant, as well as, if necessary, the surname and address of his legal representative;
b ) the name and surname of the respondent and, insofar as they are known to the plaintiff, his successive addresses during the last five years, his date of birth, his nationality and occupation;
c ) a detailed statement of the grounds and subject matter of the request and all other relevant information concerning, in particular, the means and marital status of the plaintiff and defendant.
Transmission of documents
1. The conveying authority shall transmit all documents to an intermediate authority of the respondent State, unless satisfied that the request is in bad faith.
2. Before forwarding the documents, the transfer authority shall make sure that these documents are presented in the proper form according to the law of the plaintiff's state.
3. The tribunal may advise the intermediate tribunal of its opinion on the merit of the request and recommend that the plaintiff be granted free legal aid and exemption from costs.
Transmission of judgments and other judgments
or from the Contracting Parties, and, if necessary and possible, the minutes of the case in which such a decision was made.
2. The decisions and judgments referred to in the preceding paragraph may be transmitted in lieu of or in addition to the documents referred to in article 3.
3. The proceedings provided for in Article 6 may consist, in accordance with the law of the State of the respondent, in proceedings for the issuance of an exequatur or registration proceedings or a new action based on an order transmitted under paragraph 1.
Functions of the Intermediate Court
1. Acting within the authority given by the plaintiff, the intermediate court shall take all appropriate steps on behalf of the plaintiff for the recovery of maintenance, including concluding a settlement and, if necessary, bringing a claim for maintenance and conducting the relevant court case and bringing to justice enforcement of any decision, ruling or other judicial order.
2. The intermediate authority keeps the relaying authority informed. If she cannot perform her functions, she informs the transfer authority of the reasons and returns the documents.
3. Notwithstanding anything in this Convention, the law by which all questions arising in connection with any such claim or case shall be settled shall be the law of the State of the respondent, and in particular the private international law of that State.
Where the laws of both Contracting Parties concerned permit separate requirements, the following provisions shall apply:
a ) the judicial institution in whose proceedings a maintenance claim is pending may, in order to obtain written or other evidence, apply with a separate request or to the competent judicial institution of the other Contracting Party or to any other authority or institution specified by the other Contracting Party, in the territory which this requirement must be met;
b ) in order for the parties to appear or be represented, the authority receiving the request must notify the appropriate transferring authority and intermediate authority, as well as the defendant, of the time and place when and where the requested proceedings are to take place;
c ) individual requirements must be met as quickly as possible; if a separate demand is not fulfilled within four months after the receipt of this demand by the body to which it is addressed, the body that sent such a demand must be informed of the reasons for non-fulfillment or delay;
d ) the fulfillment of a particular requirement shall not give rise to the reimbursement of any fees or expenses;
e ) only
may refuse a particular request
1) if the authenticity of such a claim is not established;
2) if the Contracting Party in whose territory the performance is to take place finds that its nature is detrimental to its sovereignty or its security.
Amendment of judgments
The provisions of this Convention also apply to requests for amendment of judgments in maintenance cases.
Exemptions and exemptions
1. Plaintiffs in proceedings under this Convention shall enjoy the same treatment and the same exemption from costs and fees as are residents or nationals of the State where the proceedings are pending.
2. Plaintiffs shall not be required, by reason of their status as aliens or non-residents, to present any obligations or make any payments or deposits to secure expenses or for any other purpose.
3. Neither transferring nor intermediate authorities shall require any remuneration for services rendered by them under the provisions of this Convention.
Contracting Parties whose laws establish restrictions on money transfers abroad shall give highest priority to money orders intended for the payment of alimony or expenses in any legal matter under this Convention.
Federal State Clause
The following provisions apply to federal or non-unitary states:
a ) under those Articles of this Convention, the enforcement of which depends on the promulgation of laws by the legislature of the federation, the duties of the government of the federation within these limits are the same as those of the Parties that are not federal states;
to ) with regard to those articles of this Convention the application of which is subject to the promulgation of laws by each federal state, province or canton which, by virtue of the constitution of the federation, is not obliged to promulgate such laws, the federal government shall, as soon as possible, bring these articles with their favorable opinion to the attention of the competent authorities of these states, provinces or cantons;
c ) a federal State party to this Convention shall transmit, at the request of any other Contracting Party, transmitted to it through the Secretary General, a communication on the laws and customs in force in the federation and its constituent parts and relating to any provision of the Convention, indicating, in to what extent this ordinance has been carried into effect by the issuance of laws or other measures.
The provisions of this Convention shall apply and apply equally to all non-self-governing, trust and other territories for whose international relations a Contracting Party is responsible, unless the latter, at the time of ratifying or acceding to this Convention, has declared that this Convention will not apply to one or more of these territories. Any Contracting Party which has made such a declaration may at any time thereafter, by notification addressed to the Secretary General, extend the application of this Convention to any or all such territories.
Signature, ratification and accession
any specialized agency, and any other non-Member State which is invited by the Economic and Social Council to become a Party to this Convention.
2. This Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General.
3. Any State referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article may at any time accede to this Convention. The instrument of accession shall be deposited with the General Secretary.
Entry into force
1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of the third instrument of ratification or accession in accordance with Article 13.
2. For each State which ratifies or accedes to this Convention after the deposit of the third instrument of ratification or accession, this Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which that State deposits its instrument of ratification or accession.
1. Each Contracting Party may denounce this Convention by means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General. Denunciation may also apply to any or all of the territories referred to in Article 12.
2. The denunciation shall take effect one year from the date of receipt of said notice by the Secretary General, but shall not affect cases in progress at the time of its entry into force.
Settlement of disputes
If a dispute arises between any of the Contracting Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention, and if this dispute is not settled by other means, it shall be referred to the International Court of Justice. This is done either by notice of a special agreement or by a unilateral statement by one of the parties to the dispute.
1. If any State, at the time of ratification or accession, makes a reservation to any of the Articles of this Convention, the Secretary-General shall transmit the text of that reservation to all States Parties to this Convention and to other States referred to in the Article. 13. Each Contracting Party which objects to this reservation may, within ninety days from the date of this communication, notify the Secretary General that it objects to this reservation, in which case the Convention shall not enter into force between the State which has made the objection and the State who made the reservation. Any State which accedes to the Convention thereafter may make the same notification at the time of accession.
2. A Contracting Party may at any time withdraw from a reservation previously made and shall notify its withdrawal to the Secretary General.
A Contracting Party may invoke the provisions of this Convention in relation to other Contracting Parties only to the extent that this Convention is binding on itself.
Notifications by the Secretary General
1. The Secretary General informs all Member States of the United Nations and all non-Member States referred to in Article 13:
a ) notifications provided for in paragraph 3 of article 2;
b ) information obtained under paragraph 2 of article 3;
c ) declarations and notifications made under article 12;
d ) of signatures, ratifications and accessions made under the provisions of Article 13;
e ) the date on which the Convention enters into force in accordance with Article 14, paragraph 1;
f ) of denunciations made under the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 15;
g ) of reservations and notifications made under the provisions of article 17.
2. In addition, the Secretary General shall inform all Contracting Parties of requests for review and the responses to those requests under Article 20.
1. Any Contracting Party may at any time request, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General, a revision of this Convention.
2. The Secretary General shall transmit this application to each of the Contracting Parties with a request that they indicate, within four months, whether they wish a conference to be convened to consider the proposed revision. If the majority of the Contracting Parties respond in the affirmative, the Secretary General shall convene the conference.
Languages and custody of the Convention
The original of this Convention, of which the English, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General, who shall transmit certified copies thereof to all the States referred to in Article 13.
How to collect child support if the father or mother of the child is abroad - Finance.ua
- Personal finance0003 How to collect alimony if the father or mother of the child is abroad
The introduction of martial law in Ukraine does not release parents from the obligation to support children until they reach the age of majority.
This is written by the Legal Adviser for IDPs.
In order to recover alimony from a debtor who has gone abroad, first of all, you need to find out whether an international agreement on the provision of legal assistance has been concluded between Ukraine and the state in which the debtor lives and whether such a state is a party to the Convention on the Recovery of Alimony Abroad or the Convention on the international recovery of alimony for children and other types of family maintenance.
Depending on the situation, there can be 4 scenarios at once:
1. The conclusion between the parents of an agreement on the payment of child support. This option provides for an amicable settlement of the issue of collecting child support without going to court. Such an agreement is concluded in writing and must be certified by a notary. Depending on the need, it may indicate:
conditions for the payment of alimony as a share of the payer's earnings (income) or in a fixed amount of money;
obligation to repay past debt;
the amount and terms of payment of monthly payments;
liability for late payment of alimony, etc.
At the same time, under the agreement, instead of monthly payments, a child can receive ownership of real estate that belongs to his father or mother (debtor), or a one-time payment. If a debtor-citizen of Ukraine travels abroad for a permanent place of residence in a state with which Ukraine does not have an agreement on the provision of legal assistance, he will be obliged to pay all child support in advance.
2. Collection of alimony through the court on the territory of Ukraine. If the father/mother of a child who lives abroad refuses to voluntarily support the child, but at the same time has property on the territory of Ukraine, the other parent may apply to the court to enforce the recovery of alimony from such a person.
In the event of a positive court decision and further non-performance, it will be necessary to contact the enforcement service. She, in turn, is authorized to seize and sell (sell) the debtor's property to pay alimony to the applicant.
3. Collection of alimony through the court of Ukraine with subsequent recognition of the court decision in the country of residence of the debtor. If a person does not have property on the territory of Ukraine, he will have to do double work: first, apply to the court with a claim for the enforcement of alimony for the maintenance of the child, and then recognize him in the country of residence of the debtor. In this case, it is better to set requirements in a hard monetary form, and not in a share (percentage form), in order to have less hassle with execution abroad.
At the same time, after receiving the court decision and entering into force, it is necessary to submit it, along with an application/petition for recognition and other documents, to the territorial body of the Ministry of Justice at the place of registration of the plaintiff. At the same time, all documents should be translated into the language of the country in which the decision will be implemented.
4. Recovery of alimony through a tribunal in the country of the debtor. You can also collect child support by filing a lawsuit in the court of the country where the debtor is located. This approach has its advantages, in particular, it saves time and costs, reduces the number of documents that need to be submitted to various authorities, and increases the amount of penalties per child. However, it can only be used in cases where:
there is no decision of the court of Ukraine on the recovery of alimony from the defendant living abroad;
the issue is resolved in accordance with the laws of the foreign country at the place of residence of the respondent;
it is necessary to resolve the issue of changing the amount of alimony;
there is no agreement on the provision of legal assistance between the countries, which makes it impossible to enforce the decision of the Ukrainian court on the territory of a foreign state.