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HAGUE CONVENTION: International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance

On January 1, 2013, the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance came into effect with the ratifications of Albania, Bosnia-HerzegovinaNorway, and later Ukraine. Both the United States and the European Union have both signed the convention and are currently in the process of ratifying it. In June 2013, the Convention passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and is currently under review by the Senate’s Committee on Finance.

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WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

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Establishes a Central Authority for each member.

Applications for child support will be processed through a Central Authority established by each country. The duties of a Central Authority will usually carried out through a country’s child support agencies. Although these Authorities have several roles, their primary function will be to transmit and receive applications and to facilitate the child support process.
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Keeps costs down for applicants.

Prior to the Convention, costs of the process may have deterred obiligees from pursuing child support. The Convention mandates that each country provide free legal assistance for child support obligations in terms of the application process. It will be interesting to see how both state and federal legislatures budget for these new expenses here in the United States.
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Determines whose laws apply.

The Convention applies the law of “habitual residence” of the individual obtaining maintenance. Generally, if the decision is made in the country where a person seeking maintenance resides, any future proceedings seeking to modify or make a new decision must be made in the same country as long as the original person seeking maintenance continues to reside there. For example, Husband and Wife get a divorce in Norway, resulting in Husband being ordered to pay child support to Wife. Immediately after the divorce, Husband moves to Ukraine. Five years later, he wants to file a motion to modify. If Wife still lives in Norway, Husband must file his motion there.
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In conclusion, the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance will make it easier to recover a child support and family maintenance in an international setting. The goal of the Convention is not to examine decisions on child support orders, but rather to create an efficient process to enforce those orders. While the logistics of creating a Central Authority in each country may be cumbersome in the beginning, today’s globalized economy makes it a necessity to streamline the international family maintenance process.

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International Abduction Risk Factors

Texas International Family Lawyers

It is often the case that when a child is abducted internationally by a parent that the non-abducting parent looks back and wonders, “Should I have seen any warning signs?”  Also, if a case is already being litigated, courts will look at certain criteria to determine if there are any abduction “risk factors.”  In fact, the Texas Family Code actually specifies a number of these risk factors for the court to assess and these factors can also be helpful to an individual wondering if the other parent may be contemplating child abduction.   Specifically, Texas Family Code §153.502 sets forth Abduction Risk Factors and states as follows:
(a) To determine whether there is a risk of the international abduction of a child by a parent of the child, the court shall consider evidence that the parent:
          (1) has taken, enticed away, kept, withheld, or concealed…

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Resource for Parents with Abducted Children

One resource for information and assistance you may be able to use if your child was abducted from the United States is the US Office of Children’s Issues.  Visit their website to learn more:

http://travel.state.gov/abduction/solutions/solutions_3848.html

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The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction

One of the primary treaties dealing with international custody/abduction issues is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction. You can learn more about this treaty on their website:

http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.text&cid=24

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