Child Support When Dad Is in Another Country

Updated on December 29, 2011
K.A. asks from Centreville, VA
11 answers

I have a friend whose ex moved his new family across the Atlantic. She has custody during the school year, but the 10 year old goes over every other Christmas, every Spring Break, and for the entire summer *dad pays airfare*. This dad has not paid support since he left, so he's currently more than 4 grand in arrears. My friend will not keep her daughter home b/c she doesn't want to punish her by severing the relationship. I'm wondering if anyone has been in this situation with support? Is there any way to recoup the money since he's not in the states?

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answers from Richmond on

Sadly, I think she is out of luck. My father is from France and went back when my parents divorced when I was little. We never got a dime and since he wasn't in the US there was no way to enforce it.

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answers from Port St. Lucie on

My ex is in Wisconsin and I in Florida, and I had to go through the state I am in to pursue the arrears. My ex is 27,000 behind and they just recently suspended his license and took him to court to make him pay. I don't know about out of the country, but check with your states child support enforcement.

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answers from Columbus on

Sorry- I don't know the answer to your question but I wanted to say kudos to your friend for not punishing her child. It upsets me so much when parents use their kids as pawns to get money. I hope your friend gets the money for their daughter that she deserves. Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I would recommned finding a lawyer with specific experience dealing with international support issues. I've heard that each country may be different to deal with, also, that some are more helpful in enforcing court orders.

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answers from Houston on

She really needs to speak with her lawyer...or find one that has experience with international custody. When I divorced, my lawyer said there would be very little that I could do to enforce my child support order if my husband moved to Mexico, but if he stopped paying and didn't attempt to see my daughter for an extended period of time I could file abandonment charges.

Technically, she can't deny visitation because he isn't paying support...that puts her in violation of the order. It would be good for her to read the orders again...he may have no right to take her out of the country.

It is hard for me to say, but if she wants her daughter to maintain the relationship, she just may have to suck it up unless she wants a protracted battle in court. Serving him with papers in itself will be a challenge unless he spends some time regularly in the States.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Talk to your state's child support enforcement agency. Even though he is over seas, they have reciprocity with other nations and can take steps to get support flowing. Although the paperwork could take a very long time. I used to work (in Florida) for an attorney who handled child support enforcement for the state for interstate collections (that is when the child/custodian reside somewhere else, and we would file against the non-custodial parent in a local court). We sometimes received cases from overseas... I remember getting a few from Germany where all the documents were in duplicate due to translations.

Also, if you already have an order for support in place and he is just not following it, if he works for a U.S. company, there are things they can do to deduct the support from his wages.

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answers from Washington DC on

This is an issue that only an attorney can give you the correct advice. It depends on so many issues, like is there a child custody order in place, what country did he move to, are the visits mandated or just an agreement you have, that your best bet is to seek legal advice.



answers from Richmond on

if the father is in another country,child support may or may not be enforceable.
you can ask though. if he is in a muslim country, forget it, it aint gonna happen
if he is that far behind in child support, i would think hard before allowing the child to leave the country, he may have decided that the easiest way to get out of paying child support from here on out is to have the child with him. think it over, this is another way of saying, NO, dont allow the child to leave the country to go to him, because you may be able to get him back.
K. h.


answers from Norfolk on

I'd have a hard time letting my child go overseas for visits for fear the ex might decide to keep him/her full time and there would be nothing I could do about it. It could be he's trust-able, the split was amicable and kidnapping would/could/should never happen but I would be VERY aware of what the laws were in both countries and the penalties for breaking them.



answers from Sacramento on

Mom, if I were your friend I would be concerned about going after a Dad abroad for past child support unless she plans to discontinute their periodic visits. I would be afraid that her taking any legal steps to recoup the $ would anger him and there is always a chance Dad would keep her in the country where he is living, so Mom might never see her again. I would be reluctant to send here there anyway to begin with. This is an odd arrangement that I would never have agreed to as a Mother.



answers from New York on

If the father is NOT A CITIZEN of the United States, then "NO". He is not obliged to obey U.S. laws. The laws of his country of citizenship shall prevail, whether it treats family as commercialized or sacred.

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