How can I make sure I get child support payments if my ex is in a different country?

In most cases, getting child support payments from a non-custodial parent is just a matter of setting up a regular bank account transfer. However, if your spouse owes back payments, or has not been making payments on time, the Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS) can intercede on your behalf.

DCS can take action against non-custodial spouses living in:

  • Foreign countries – To get child support payments from a different country, DCS may be able to work with foreign officials to enforce the child support order. If the country does not have reciprocity with Washington, you may have to take legal action against your ex-spouse to collect payment.
  • Other states – DCS does have the ability to enforce support if the non-custodial parent lives in a different state. Usually this will involve DCS contacting the state child support agency that has jurisdiction over your ex and request that they enforce the support order. However, once the case has been sent to another jurisdiction, you may have to deal exclusively with that other jurisdiction to take additional actions in your case.
  • Indian reservations – If the non-custodial parent lives on an Indian reservation, DCS will contact the tribal government to request payment. DCS may work together with the State Tribal Relations Unit if your ex resides on a reservation, is employed in an Indian-owned business, or is otherwise living on trust land. In some cases, the order may be referred to the tribal court for enforcement.

To find out if you need an attorney on your side to help collect payment from your ex, click the link on this page to download our FREE book, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Divorce in Washington, or fill out the short contact form on this page to ask us a question about your case.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny