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Idaho Jeopardizes U.S. Participation in Hague Convention

Idaho State Capitol
The Idaho State Capitol Building in Boise, Idaho.

Concerns Over Shariah Law Threaten International Child Support Treaty

A few years ago, we covered federal action on the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Specifically, I wrote about how the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed key language implementing the Hague Convention in the International Child Support Recovery Act of 2012. While that bill did not ultimately become law, a new issue has recently arisen that jeopardizes U.S. participation in the Hague Convention itself.

As the 2015 session of the Idaho legislature approached closing, the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee of the Idaho House of Representatives voted to kill an update to Idaho’s version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The update would have brought child support enforcement methods in Idaho into alignment with the terms of the Hague Convention. The measure had passed the Idaho Senate unanimously, but was met with strong opposition in the Idaho House for several reasons—one of which was a concern that the Hague Convention might subject Idaho to shariah law via international child support cases.

Supporters of the legislation in Idaho point out that shariah law has never trumped the laws of the United States, whether federal or state, and allege the objections dressed up as “state’s rights” amount to fear-mongering. The Hague Convention itself outlines a jurisdiction’s right to reject a deal that does not conform to legal fairness from an American perspective.

At risk for Idaho is the loss of $46 million in direct federal aid linked to the legislation, as well as loss of access to payment processing systems, including deductions from payroll via automatic means.

The biggest risk is not contained to Idaho, however. The Hague Convention does not simply require ratification by the federal government, but also requires all fifty states to sign off on the agreement. Should Idaho fail to approve this multinational agreement, the entire United States may be disqualified from participating in the Hague Convention.

This could have a tremendous impact on recipients of child support now living in the United States. Currently, there are 150,000 active international child support cases where a U.S. resident is involved. Roughly $600 million is transferred annually in American international child support cases.

The child support attorneys at Livesay & Myers, P.C. have experience in dealing with international, interstate, and local child support matters. If you require assistance with a child support case in Northern Virginia, contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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