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Child support treaty could affect thousands of Michigan residents

Ann Arbor-area residents with child support concerns may be interested to know that our state is currently handling as many as 5,000 child support cases involving parents who live in another country. And according to the Michigan Department of Human Services' director of child support, it is typical that families involved in those cases have to wait at least five years for a solid support agreement to be established with the parent who lives outside of the United States.

As parents who depend on child support payments know, that kind of waiting for funds can make for tough times. That is one reason lawmakers recently passed legislation that is meant to empower states to enforce child support agreements and collect payments from parents who reside in another country.

The House passed a measure that will allow the United States to ratify an international treaty on child support. Nations that sign the treaty agree to cooperate in making certain that parents receive their due child support payments.

The United States and a number of other countries, including the European Union, have signed the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The treaty establishes a standardized process for sharing information across national borders, and should improve states' ability to enforce child support orders no matter where the paying parent lives.

Now that the House voted in favor of ratifying the treaty, the measure will go to the Senate for approval. Michigan parents may want to keep an eye on the agreement as it moves toward ratification.

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

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