House to pass bill ensuring cooperation with overseas child-support orders

The International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act, H.R. 4282, implements a 2007 treaty that the Senate approved in 2010 — the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.), said earlier this year that implementing the treaty will reduce barriers children in the United States face in receiving support they are owed from an overseas parent.

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"In taking the next step toward ratifying the Hague Convention, we will empower states, which operate the Child Support Enforcement program, to do more to help families and children and ensure they have the same access to financial support even when one parent lives outside the country," Berg said.

The bill is also sponsored by several Democrats, ensuring its passage as early as Tuesday under a suspension of House rules.

"This legislation will help ensure that borders don't become barriers to children receiving the financial support their parents are obligated to provide," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas). "It does right by children and saves taxpayers' dollars."

According to Berg, several U.S. states already recognize child support orders from other countries, but many countries do not cooperate with states' requests for support from people living overseas.

The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use its authority to comply with the treaty, and authorize the sharing of information with participating governments on the location of parents who owe child support. It also sets standards for the information to be shared, and envisions that overseas requests for compliance with a child support order be run through a foreign government to the states.

Countries participating in the treaty are those in the European Union, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Norway, Ukraine and the United States.