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Lawmakers reverse position on child support treaty

On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Child Support on Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Illinois residents may have read recent reports concerning the U.S. participation in an international child support treaty that had been jeopardized by fears that it could lead to American courts being influenced by Islamic law. Idaho lawmakers voted to reject the treaty in April due to these concerns, and the state faced losing $46 million in federal funds as a consequence. However, a new bill was approved in Idaho on May 18 that approved the new child support rules.

The child support treaty approval came after Idaho’s governor called a special session to resolve the issue. Negotiations over the treaty were concluded in 2007, and dozens of nations have already agreed to the new rules. U.S. law requires that the treaty be approved on a state-by-state basis, and the Idaho vote threatened to derail this process. The treaty affects approximately 150,000 international child support cases.

While Idaho lawmakers were likely concerned about making it easier for families to receive child support funds, they may have also been swayed by a looming financial crisis. Rejection of the treaty would have cut federal funding and denied Idaho access to payment processing systems such as payroll deductions. Several Idaho legislators accused federal authorities of coercion, but the bill was passed and is expected to be signed into law by the governor. The treaty has so far been approved by 28 states.

Many parents rely on the timely payment of child support, but determining how much will be paid is sometimes a contentious process. A family law attorney could advocate on behalf of a custodial parent during child support negotiations and hearings to help ensure that the amount awarded is sufficient and fair. An attorney could also assist a parent when child support payments are not made as agreed by seeking to place liens against the property of the delinquent parent.

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