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Idaho passes child support treaty on second try

The Idaho legislature has finally approved a bill that contained provisions ratifying a proposed international child support treaty, after previously rejecting the bill for fear that it would force Idaho courts to recognize Muslim-based Shariah law. New Jersey parents will have a better chance to collect child support from a parent who is living in another country after Idaho's action.

The proposed treaty is designed to make it easier to collect child support from non-custodial parents in other countries. Currently, collection and enforcement of child support orders across international lines is a very slow and complex process, due to the differences in culture, laws and collection systems. Because state governments are responsible for collecting and enforcing child support in the United States, the treaty must be approved by each state. Idaho had been the first state to reject the treaty, but more than two dozen states have already approved it.

Failure to pass the law would have resulted not only in the possible defeat of the international treaty, but also Idaho's loss of $46 million annually in federal funds for child support collection. Critics of the bill called the federal threat "bribery" and "extortion." Federal officials pointed out that tying federal funding to compliance with federal mandates has always been a component of the child support system.

Although Idaho had been the first state to reject the treaty provisions, action is still needed in a number of states before approval. A parent with a child whose non-custodial parent lives in another country may want to consult with an attorney with experience in child support cases. The attorney may be able to help the individual work through the complex system of international child support collection.

Source: Fox News, "Legislators pass child support that had been nixed over Islamic law," Associated Press, May 18, 2015

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