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International treaty will help enforce child support payments

California voters may be interested to know that a bill intended to strengthen the ability of parents to collect child support payments both nationally and internationally has been passed in Idaho after an initial rejection. The bill contained the approval of a proposed international treaty regarding child support to which each state must individually agree.

Lawmakers in Idaho had initially rejected the bill on the grounds that the treaty opened the way for Shariah law, but the treaty's supporters say that it does not require compliance with a foreign legal system if that compliance would contradict law in the United States. However, language was added to the bill to ensure that a foreign legal judgment will not be enforced if it is not compatible with Idaho law.

Once the treaty has been ratified by all of the states, the approval will mean that parents will have additional tools to collect child support internationally. Around $600 million is at stake in about 150,000 cases in which child support crosses international borders.

Having a legal agreement in place for child support can be important whether or not the case has an international component. In some cases, parents may feel that their split was amicable and that they want a more informal agreement, but this means that there are fewer channels for a custodial parent to pursue if the other parent stops paying support. With a court order in place, custodial parents have tools for enforcing child support orders if necessary. If there are changes in a parent's circumstances, then the child support order can be modified. An attorney may be helpful in negotiating the child support agreement or any needed changes.

Source: Fox News, "Legislators pass child support bill that had been nixed over Islamic law," Associated Press, May 18, 2015

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