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Collecting child support when your ex lives outside the country

| Apr 23, 2021 | Divorce

When you were going through your divorce, you may have wanted to be as far away from your spouse as possible. Now that your ex-spouse lives outside the country, though, you may have trouble collecting child support. Still, there may be options for ensuring your kids have the financial support they need to thrive.

If a co-parent lives in California, you can use the state’s judicial system to enforce a child support order. The same is true for parents who live in other states or U.S. territories. For spouses who reside abroad, though, you are apt to face additional hurdles when trying to collect child support payments.

International agreements

Because it is easy for parents to leave the country, the United States has child support enforcement agreements with many countries. If your ex-spouse lives in one of these 26 countries, the U.S. State Department may be able to help you enforce an existing child support order.

The State of California also has its own agreements with some foreign governments. Therefore, even if the United States has not signed a bilateral agreement with the country where your ex-spouse now lives, it is worthwhile to check if California has.

No agreements

It is possible your ex-spouse has moved to a place that has no child support enforcement agreement with the U.S. or California government. Unfortunately, securing child support in these countries may be exceedingly difficult. It is usually not impossible, though. To boost your odds of enforcing your support order, you should try to find out as much about your ex-spouse and their income as you can.

The relevant information

If you know where your ex-spouse lives, you are already ahead of the enforcement game. Obtaining other information can also be beneficial.

For example, it helps to know your former spouse’s exact address and place of employment. If your ex works for a U.S. company or a company that has offices in the United States, you may be able to force the company to withhold child support and deliver it to you.

Whatever the circumstances, to enforce your support order across country lines will take effort and information.