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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102374
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I need some advice. My daughter is a US citizen. We live in

Customer Question

Good day. I need some advice. My daughter is a US citizen. We live in Panama, Republic of Panama. There is no agreement between Panama and the US for Child Support, and even though my divorce settlement states that the father should pay $200 monthly for child support, he has never done so, since 2008. He has maintained a relationship with her, though, as he has come to visit and she has gone to spend vacations with him.
Before, my situation was different as I had a great job and salary. Now, I am an independent consultant and require his help (responsibility) with school costs, etc.
How can I go about having him pay child support? The US Embassy in Panama has no child support office and has advised that I seek legal help in the US. The father lives in Florida since July 2015. Before that he lived in Puerto Rico. Any help I can get from you is appreciated.
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Because the child is in Panama, jurisdiction for child support is in Panama. One wants to file for child support in Panama and get a decree for child support from the Panamanian court.

Once this is done, one hires an attorney in Florida to enforce the decree - in Florida. The attorney would then do two main things:

1) Domesticate the Panamanian decree in Florida. Even if there is no child support treaty, a Florida court will recognize a foreign decree if it has comity (meaning it was reached fairly in a court of law with each party having a proper chance to appear); and

2) Enforce the decree (now considered "domesticated") by pleadings such as contempt (where he may be admonished, fined, or jailed for not paying), garnishment, and possibly even suspending a driver license or passport.

Attorney fees may be added on to costs overall in Florida court at the Judge's discretion. You would need a Florida attorney for the second part. Let me know if you need help finding someone.

Good luck.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never rated positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!