The purpose of a child support order is to help ensure children receive the care they need. But what happens when one parent is ordered to pay child support out of state? Or even outside of the United States?
In Illinois, there are specific laws and procedures in place to handle out-of-state child support cases. This includes those involving international borders and the Hague Convention. Here’s what you need to know about handling out of state child support cases in Illinois.
What is Child Support?
A child support order is determined by what is reasonable and necessary for the support of the child or children. It is presumed that the guideline support amounts represent the amount of support that is reasonable and necessary, unless it can be demonstrated to the court that circumstances exist that would make the guideline amount inappropriate.
Understanding the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) provides a framework for child support cases when parents live in different states. Illinois, like most other states, has adopted UIFSA. This means that if the non-custodial parent lives in another state, Illinois can still enforce the child support order.
Under UIFSA, the state where the child resides has jurisdiction over the case. The state where the non-custodial parent lives must follow the laws of the state where the child resides. If you are facing child support issues across state lines, it is crucial to work with a family law attorney who can navigate the complexities of UIFSA and help you achieve a favorable outcome.
Seeking Assistance from the Illinois Child Support Services (CSS)
In the event that the non-custodial parent lives out of state, but you have a child support order in Illinois, the Department of Illinois Child Support Services (DCSS) can provide assistance. DCSS offers the following services to help you:
- Enforcing the child support order across state lines
- Modifying the child support order if necessary
- Establishing paternity
- Locating the non-custodial parent
DCSS can also work with the federal government to enforce child support orders across international borders. However, it’s important to note that DCSS is not able to provide legal advice and cannot help with the following:
- Obtaining a divorce or property settlement
- Modifying a custody or visitation order
- Obtaining an order for college expenses.
Enforcing Child Support Orders Across International Borders
Illinois can enforce a child support order even if the non-custodial parent lives in another country. OCSE is the U.S. Central Authority for international child support. They work with states and countries to provide assistance to families seeking support when family members live in different countries.
U.S. states process cases with certain countries under different types of reciprocity arrangements, including:
- Hague Convention countries — countries that have joined the Hague Child Support Convention, and
- Foreign reciprocating countries (FRCs) — countries and Canadian provinces/territories that have bilateral arrangements with the U.S. government and have not joined the Hague Convention.
Since 2017, the U.S. has participated in an international agreement to streamline child support arrangements around the world, and collecting support from parents who move overseas is now possible in many countries. The purpose of the Hague Convention is to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent by encouraging the quick return of the child to their country of habitual residence. Additionally it helps to organize and secure the effective rights of access to a child. Over 80 countries, including the United States are members of the Convention.
According to the Hague Convention, Illinois has the authority to request that the country where the non-custodial parent resides enforces the child support order. As long as the child support order is recognized in that country’s legal system, the country is obligated to comply with the request.
If you are dealing with child support issues across national or international borders, it is essential to work with a knowledgeable family law attorney. Law firms with extensive experience in cases involving international disputes can guide you through the complexities of the Hague Convention and help you protect the best interests of your child.
Working with a Hague Convention Lawyer
When faced with desperate situations, some parents may resort to non-legal means of retrieving their child, such as traveling to the foreign country themselves. However, it’s important to understand that such extra-judicial methods can breach both U.S. federal laws and foreign country laws, and may even make the situation worse.
To ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved, it’s recommended to hire a Hague Convention lawyer. Masters Law Group can provide expert guidance and support throughout the Hague process to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties concerned.
To read some of our Featured Hague Decisions, see below:
About Masters Law Group
Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in child support cases involving national and international disputes in both courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system.
Don’t navigate international law issues alone, trust the knowledge of the attorneys at Masters Law Group. We are passionate advocates for our clients and we work tirelessly to achieve a favorable outcomes for you and your child/children.