The United States’ participation in an international treaty on child support may be in jeopardy, after a legislative committee in one state voted against a key bill. As a result, parents in Minnesota and across the country may not enjoy the treaty’s benefits when it comes to getting child support from noncustodial co-parents abroad.
The treaty is called the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The New York Times reports that it took five years for The Hague Conference on Private International Law to negotiate. In order for the U.S. to ratify it, all 50 state legislatures must approve it. So far, 19 have done so.
It appeared at first that Idaho was going to join them. The state Senate passed the necessary bill unanimously and without debate. But on the last day of the legislative session, the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee voted down the bill 9-8.
Committee members who voted against the bill gave various reasons for their decision. Some said they did not like the idea of foreign tribunals deciding child support cases involving American parents. Others said they felt the federal government was “rude” in the way it encouraged passage.
By not passing the bill, Idaho risks losing $16 million in federal funding for the state’s child welfare system, which would essentially defund the state’s child support enforcement program. The state could also lose $30 million in grants for Head Start and other programs.
Whether or not the U.S. ratifies this treaty, it is possible, though more complicated, to obtain the child support you need when the other parent lives in another country. A family law attorney can be a big help.