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Some Florida parents could benefit from global child support treaty

The United States is one step closer to actively collecting child support from some non-paying parents with obligations living outside the country. The House of Representatives voted to ratify a 2007 international treaty that will ensure families of support they are legally entitled to receive.

Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., sponsored the ratification bill that will enforce the agreements made in the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Other countries in the European Union that signed onto the agreement are the Ukraine, Albania, Norway, Herzegovina and Bosnia.

Once Berg's legislation is passed by the Senate, it will provide the needed language that will be implemented in a standardized process to share information between countries regarding the collection of child support. The Senate gave consent to the treaty in 2010, but the legislation could fine tune the details.

Currently, the U.S. has child support agreements with 15 countries. Kay Farley, former president of the National Child Support Enforcement Association, stated that while the United States enforces child support obligations in those countries, many do not process the requests made from the U.S. for collection.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Human Services testified before the committee hearings that the state handles about 5,000 cases currently in which a parent holds residence in another country, and a five-year wait for support to be established is not unusual.

Officials noted that as more parents live internationally, it is urgent to ratify the agreement in order for children in every state, including Florida, to receive the support they need.

Source: Boston Globe, "House acts on international child support treaty," Jim Abrams, June 5, 2012

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