Can I Get Child Support If My Ex Is in Another Country?

Depending on the situation, yes. We represent clients seeking child support from the other parent, whether that parent is across the street or across the globe.

Agreements with other countries

The federal government has negotiated reciprocity agreements with several countries and is negotiating declarations with others on behalf of all U.S. jurisdictions. The following countries are foreign reciprocating countries for child support purposes.

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovak Republic
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

These agreements spell out procedures for establishing and enforcing child support orders across borders. Requirements may vary, but a parent will be asked to provide the same kind of information as in a domestic case. Including as much specific information, such as the address and employer of the noncustodial parent, as possible is a good idea.

Possible steps when there is no agreement with the other country

If the other parent works for an American company or for a foreign company with offices in the United States, income withholding might be possible even if the country he or she lives is not one of the reciprocating countries. Approaching a foreign employer doing business in the United States directly for help might prove successful. If the other parent is employed by the Department of Defense or another federal agency and living overseas, the agency employing the parent could be contacted to arrange payment.

The state Office of Child Support could get involved and criminal charges could be filed if the other parent is not paying support. That could lead to an arrest and extradition from the other country. One instance of this took place in 1997, when the state of Massachusetts, working with Interpol, had a parent who was the subject of an outstanding warrant deported from the Dominican Republic and arrested on arrival in the United States.

If there is no reciprocal agreement with the country where the other parent lives, a child support enforcement action could be filed in the appropriate court in the foreign country. This normally requires hiring a local an attorney. The Department of State, Office of American Citizens Services may have information on foreign child support laws and a list of English-speaking attorneys. That foreign attorney will probably want any documents concerning child support proceedings and decisions from New Jersey.

Child support issues can be complex, and we work with our clients to get the best possible outcome for them and the children involved. If you have questions or concerns about child custody, contact our office.