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Interstate and International Child Support: Enforcing Child Support for Noncustodial Parents Residing Outside of Pennsylvania

If you receive child support for your child(ren) and the other parent fails to abide by the support order, you have enforcement options that may enable you to collect the delinquent payments, even if the other parent lives outside of Pennsylvania.

If the noncustodial parent lives in another state, Pennsylvania and the other state are required by law to cooperate in enforcement of the child support obligation. See 42 U.S.C. § 654(9). States are also required to assist in locating a non-custodial parent within their state for enforcement purposes. States have the power to withhold income, impose liens, and issue subpoenas in interstate child support cases. If the non-custodial parent fails to appear in court or otherwise cooperate and a bench warrant is issued for them, and they are subsequently arrested in the other state, then that state may hold them until Pennsylvania determines whether they should be extradited (i.e. brought back to Pennsylvania for court proceedings against them).

If the noncustodial parent lives in another country, enforcement options will depend on whether the United States has entered into a treaty or other reciprocation agreement with that country or province/state/territory (cooperating countries are called “federal or state-level reciprocating countries”). Individual states may also enter into child support agreements with other countries. The 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance has been in effect in the United States since January 1, 2017, and participating countries follow the Hague Convention guidelines in enforcing child support orders with other participating countries. While the Hague Convention covers the most countries, other agreements exist between countries, between U.S. states and other countries, and even between U.S. states and provinces or territories in other countries (such as various provinces in Canada).

If the noncustodial parent lives in a country that does not participate in the Hague Convention and is not a federal or state-level reciprocating country, then it is unlikely that Pennsylvania’s Domestic Relations, or similar agencies in other states, will be able to help you. In such cases, it may be prudent to contact an attorney in the foreign country where the noncustodial parent resides in order to determine your options for filing for child support in that country.

If you are interested in discussing your child support matter, please contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 for a consultation with one of our attorneys.