How are Support Collections Enforced if My Ex Left the Country?

Following a divorce or separation, the non-custodial parent—the person who lacks primary physical possession of the child—will generally be required to pay child support. Unfortunately, some parents struggle to get the full child support payments that they are owed.

Enforcing child support obligations can be especially challenging if your co-parent leaves the country. Our child support lawyers in Skokie and Chicago provide an overview of how child support collections are enforced if your co-parent left the United States.

You Have the Right to Enforce Child Support Obligations

As background, it is important to note that many parents struggle to get full child support. The United States Census Bureau has published official data showing that just 44% of custodial parents actually receive the full child support payments that they are due under the law.

There are several different enforcement options available to collect delinquent child support payments. If you are owed child support, it is important to be proactive. You have a right to use every available tool—from wage garnishments to tax refund seizures—to collect the money.

Collecting Child Support When a Parent Leaves the Country

Child support orders can be enforced from state to state relatively easily. If your co-parent leaves Illinois and moves to another state—whether across the border to Wisconsin or across the country to Alaska—there is a strong system in place to enforce child support obligations. However, it is more challenging to enforce child support against a person who leaves the country. Here are three key things to know about collecting child support from a parent who has left the United States:

  • Try a Collaborative Approach First: If your co-parent who owes child support is planning to or has already left the United States, it is usually best to start with a collaborative approach. This means trying to get them to voluntarily do the right thing.
  • The U.S. Has Some International Child Support Enforcement Agreements: Your options for enforcing child support depend, in part, on the country where your ex moved. The United States has some international child support enforcement agreements in place. The Office of Child Support Enforcement provides a full list. Most European countries are covered. Some countries from other regions—such as Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Brazil, and Israel—are also covered.
  • You Can Take Action Against U.S. Property and Assets: A person who leaves the country may still have American assets. You can take action against any U.S.-based assets to enforce overdue child support—from bank accounts to real property.

Consult With Our Skokie, IL Child Support Attorneys Today

At ​​Gordon & Perlut, LLC, our Illinois child support lawyers have the skills and experience to help you collect on delinquent child support. If you are trying to collect child support for a co-parent who has left the country, we are here as a resource. Contact us now to set up your fully confidential initial consultation. From our Chicago and Skokie law offices, we handle child support cases in Cook County and throughout the North Shore.