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U.S. closer to ratifying Hague Convention child support treaty

If the language in newly proposed legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives is consented to in the Senate, Georgia and other American states would face fewer obstacles in collecting child support payments from parents living in foreign countries. The legislation would ratify an international treaty set forth in 2007 that aims to ensure families receive the financial support they are owed. The treaty also standardizes the processes by which countries share information with one another.

The treaty, better known as the Hague Convention, has already been signed by numerous European countries and the United States. But Norway's government is the only one to ratify it thus far.

The treaty will bolster existing bilateral child support agreements that countries have established with one another. The United States, for example, has such child support arrangements made with 15 countries. But the former president of the National Child Support Enforcement Association said that requests made by the U.S. to other countries have not been processed, in many cases, making it difficult to get results from those bilateral agreements even when the U.S. enforces child support obligations submitted by those countries.

Additionally, when children do have at least one parent living overseas who has child support obligations, even the presence of a bilateral agreement often fails to prevent the up-to five-year waiting period it often takes to set up child support payments.

Last week, the National Child Support Enforcement Association pushed hard for Congress to ratify the treaty, arguing that increasingly more parents with child support duties are living abroad, with those obligations needing to be enforced.

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

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