Tag: Child Support Hague

International Divorce and Custody

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, international marriages are on the rise. And that means an increase in relationships crossing borders. This has also created a glut of international divorce and custody disputes.

international divorce and custody

If you think that a parent or your partner could take your child out of the state or country, there are a few treaties, laws and statues you should be aware of to help you resolve an international divorce and custody battle in your favor.

International Cases

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, also known as the Hague Convention, is an international treaty to help promptly return children wrongfully abducted.

The Hague Convention only applies between countries that have signed the Convention, and its reach is limited to children ages 16 and under.

The Convention’s central operating feature is the return remedy. When a child under the age of 16 has been wrongfully retained, the country to which the child has been brought must order the return of the child unless certain exceptions apply.

The Hague Convention also deters abductions. It does that by eliminating the primary motivation for abducting. Since the goal of the taking parent is to get rights of custody from another country, when a child is wrongfully removed, the other country must order the return of the child forthwith.

Foreign Courts

I’ve written on international divorce and custody before, especially as they relate to child custody issues and The Hague Convention on abduction.

In addition to the Hague Convention, you’ll need to know if there are cultural or religious beliefs that could impact your case. For example, some countries have a preference for granting sole physical custody mothers, and others to fathers.

Interstate Cases

International custody disputes are difficult to navigate, but so are interstate divorce and custody cases: meaning cases between parents living in two different U.S. states.

Generally, when two parents reside in Florida, Florida custody laws will apply. However, when one of the parents and the child move across state lines, you have an interstate custody problem.

To help with conflicts between different laws in different American states, the Uniform Law Commission is tasked with drafting laws on various subjects that attempt to bring uniformity across American state lines.

With respect to family law, different American states had adopted different approaches to issues related to interstate custody, visitation, and time-sharing. The results were that different states had conflicting resolutions to the same problems.

To seek harmony in this area, the Uniform Law Commission promulgated the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the UCCJEA), which Florida and almost all U.S. states passed into law.

The most fundamental aspect of the UCCJEA is the approach to the jurisdiction needed to start a case. In part, the UCCJEA requires a court have some jurisdiction vis-a-vis the child. That jurisdiction is based on where the child is, and the significant connections the child has with the forum state, let’s say Florida for this example. The ultimate determining factor in a Florida case then, is what is the “home state” of the child.

The Census fact sheet on international marriage is here.

 

International Child Support

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled this week that divorced mothers will have to share the financial burden of child support with the fathers if their salaries are equal, or the woman’s is higher and children are in joint custody. This brings Israel into line with Florida law on the matter.

The Israel Case

Until now, men have been required to pay child support to their ex-wives even in situations of joint custody when the mother earned more than the father.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the ruling was given in response to an appeal by two divorced men whose ex-wives earned higher salaries than they did but who were still required to pay child support even though their children were in joint custody.

“The exclusive obligation of the father for child support payments and the exemption granted to the mother is not directly affected by the question of child custody,” wrote the justices.

The current law – requiring the father alone to pay for essential needs in child support – is likely to leave the father without the necessary resources to guarantee the welfare of the child and his well-being when he is staying with him, and also causes financial difficulties [for the father] himself.

The justices agreed with the claim of the two fathers that current law discriminates against men in not taking into account situations in which there is joint custody.

Florida Child Support

I’ve written about child support issues in Florida before. Calculating child support in Florida used to be entirely at the judge’s discretion, based on a parent’s ability to pay, and the child’s needs.

Florida established child support guidelines which follows the income shares model. The guidelines are far from foolproof, but do provide the amounts can be adjusted upward or downward. The statute allows deviations by up to 5 percent after considering relevant factors.

Additionally, the statute authorizes deviations by more than 5 percent, pursuant to a list of 10 enumerated factors, and one equitable factor — the colloquial “catch-all” exception. Finally, the statue mandates use of a gross-up calculation of support for substantial time-sharing.

In Florida, parents exercising substantial time-sharing incur their own child rearing expenses when they time-share, and are duplicating payment for items already included in their child support.

Without adjustments for substantial time-sharing, parents can be paying twice for a child’s expense, making time-sharing prohibitively expensive. Accordingly, in 2008, the statute was amended to expand the meaning of substantial time-sharing to equalize the child support obligation.

Back in Israel

Attorney Amir Shai, who represented one of the fathers, described the ruling as one of the most important decisions of the last decade. “From now on, the discrimination by which only fathers have to financially support their children will end,” said Shai.

Children in Israel now have two addresses which must take care of them, as in any normal country. It’s reasonable to expect that tens of thousands of fathers will now flood the courts with requests to adjust their child support payments in accordance with this ruling in the coming months.

The Jerusalem Post article is here.

 

A Hague Convention for Child Support

fsBy The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Support on Wednesday, September 21, 2016.

Enforcing child support overseas just got easier. President Obama just ratified the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support.

The official statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on The Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.

I’ve written about child support issues before. My timesharing child support article is now cited as a resource in the Child Support Benchbook. The Benchbook helps judges and magistrates hone courtroom practice and decision-making, by keeping them informed by state-of-the-art science, best practices used nationwide, and knowledge.

While the United States has child support enforcement well in hand, the same has not been true in other countries. This Convention is intended to remedy non-support cases where the payer of support resides in a foreign country and fails to provide court-ordered child support.

The Convention’s purpose is to assist custodial parents in enforcement proceedings in their state courts for collection of financial support due from parents residing outside of the United States.

The Convention accomplishes this by:

a) establishing a comprehensive system of co-operation between the authorities of the Contracting States;

b) making available applications for the establishment of maintenance decisions;

c) providing for the recognition and enforcement of maintenance decisions; and

d) requiring effective measures for the prompt enforcement of maintenance decisions.

The Convention applies to:

a) obligations arising from a parent-child relationship towards a person under the age of 21 years;

b) enforcement of a decision for spousal support when the application is made with a claim within the scope of sub-paragraph a); and

c) spousal support.

A list of countries which have ratified the Convention is here.