How Does Child Support Work if the Child Lives Abroad?

a mom holding her son

Parents have a duty to support their children regardless of how much time they spend with them or where the kids currently live. But the process of enforcing child support when the child lives abroad may be more complex than in other cases. So today, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about it to guide you should you see yourself in this situation.

In what countries may I enforce a child support order set in the US?

Australia, France, Germany, and other countries have signed agreements with the US government to help enforce a child support order issued in the US. You may refer to the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support for the complete list of countries.

If you and your child live in one of the countries on the list, the first step is to contact a local child support agency. They often have the resources to reach out to necessary offices to enforce the agreement even if you live abroad and the order was issued in the US.

How will I receive the payments if I live abroad?

If California issued the order, you could count on the state to assist with the enforcement. Currently, California sends child support payments through these two processes:

  1. Electronic transfers to international child support agencies. These agencies then make payments to the parent who’s supposed to receive support.
  2. International Direct Deposit. This process requires the party receiving payments to complete a form. Through this form, they can submit their personal bank account, routing information, case number, and the name of the participant.

If I need to enroll in International Direct Deposit, is it possible to keep my information from the other parent?

Yes. If you’re concerned about the release of your personal information during International Direct Deposit enrollment and other processes you have to undergo, discuss this with your caseworker or lawyer. In most cases, such information can be concealed from the other party.

Is it possible to change or update the child support order?

Yes. The court can review the order at the request of either parent. If California issued the order, the state court might modify the child support amount depending on several factors. These factors may include the income of both parents—and whether there are recent changes with it. The amount of time each parent spends with the child or children can also be a deciding factor.

a judge signing a child support order

Your child support agency or lawyer may have to work with the state to review and modify the order. Say you live in Adelaide, Australia right now. Your family lawyer in Adelaide may need to coordinate with the state of California to ensure a smooth process of order modification.

What if I don’t know the location of the parent owing support?

You don’t have to know the location of the parent owing support to enforce the order. You can open a case with the assistance of a lawyer or caseworker. Then, they’ll attempt to locate the other parent. They might also not share the location information of the other parent with you

Reach out to our family lawyers for more information.

For more questions about child support in California or enforcing it in a country where you and your kid live right now, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our experienced family attorneys will study your case and provide necessary legal assistance.

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