3 Ways on How to Get Child Support from an Illegal Immigrant

My friend Romika asked me, “How to get child support from an illegal immigrant?” She said, “I have a child whose father is an illegal immigrant, and I need to get some financial support for my child.” Collecting child support from an illegal immigrant can be a challenging process, as there are a variety of legal issues that may arise.

If you find yourself in the same situation as Ramika, here are three things you need to know about how to get child support from an undocumented immigrant.

how to get child support from an illegal immigrant

How to Get Child Support from an Illegal Immigrant: Know 3 Things

Immigration status is irrelevant for child support and custody issue:

“Does immigration status affect child custody?”

Child support and custody are not dependent on the parent’s immigration status. It does not matter if a parent is legally present in the U.S. or deported to another country; your state’s laws will still apply to child support and custody. In fact, you can even file for child support against an immigrant who has never entered the U.S.

This means that, even if your partner is an illegal immigrant, you can still file for child support in court or pursue a claim through your state’s Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).

Collecting child support from an illegal immigrant:

If he/she lives in the USA, you can collect child support by filing a lawsuit in court. If the illegal immigrant resides outside the U.S., you can bring a case before an international tribunal or agency. For example, if he/she is from Mexico, you could file with the government-run Mexican Institute of Social Security.

Also, you can use a private agency or lawyer who is familiar with collecting child support from an illegal immigrant. It may cost money upfront, but working with someone experienced in this area can help you get the results you are looking for faster and more efficiently.

Collecting child support from a deported immigrant:

If the father of your child has been deported, it may become tough to get child support from him. You may need to find out how much money he has in a foreign bank account and how you can access it. Also, you should look into how the U.S. court system can help you collect payments for your child even if the father is in another country.

If the non-custodial parent lives in another country, you may need to file a claim with the CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Agency) to obtain payment. The CSEA will work with the parent to set up appropriate payment arrangements. The problem is that the USA doesn’t have any agreement with most countries to enforce its local laws overseas.

Even if you cannot access the money directly, you may still be able to use the court system to get a judgment that states how much is owed and how it should be paid.

Can an undocumented immigrant can claim child support?

“If I am an undocumented immigrant, can I still get custody?”

Yes, an undocumented immigrant can claim child support. However, it is essential to note that many states will require proof of legal immigration status to establish paternity and pursue a child support award. The specific laws vary by state.

But in general, the immigrant status is irrelevant in claiming child support. The court will consider the best interests of the child. It may consider factors such as the financial condition of both parents, their existing relationship with the child, and other relevant facts when making a decision about awarding or denying child support. 

The court also considers public policy in determining the child’s best interest. In some states, being undocumented does not necessarily mean a parent cannot be held accountable for paying child support.

If you are still not convinced, watch the below video about how you can file child support on an illegal immigrant:

More related to How to Get Child Support from an Illegal Immigrant

What happens to non-citizens if they don’t pay child support?

Non-citizens who fail to pay child support may face civil and criminal penalties, depending on the circumstances, as there are no real ways to protect the money fully from child support. The consequences can range from garnishment of wages, property liens, interception of tax refunds, or, in more severe cases, denial of a visa or green card application and deportation.

In addition, under federal law, failure to pay child support can also result in the issuance of a passport restriction or even revocation. In some cases, non-citizens may also be denied entry into the United States if they have an outstanding child support debt. Finally, criminal penalties for failure to pay child support include fines and imprisonment of up to six months in jail.

Can a non-U.S. citizen get child support from a U.S. citizen?

For many individuals, access to child support is essential in ensuring that the minor possessed by a non-US citizen parent can enjoy the same quality of life as other minors. Child support payments enable non-US citizens to provide their children with food, shelter, and educational opportunities without sacrificing their own time and financial resources.

Fortunately for these individuals, if one of the parents involved in a child custody case is a U.S. citizen, then it is possible for the non-US citizen parent also to receive financial support from that citizen. Through diligent negotiation on behalf of the minor’s best interests, a qualified attorney can often work out an arrangement that allows for this vital form of finance.

Does immigration status affect child custody in California?

No, in California, a person’s immigration status does not generally affect their ability to seek or obtain child custody. California courts make custody decisions based on the child’s best interests, and immigration status is not considered when determining what is in the child’s best interests.

However, in some cases, a parent’s immigration status may affect the court’s decision if it poses a risk to the child’s safety or well-being, such as if the parent may be deported and unable to care for the child.

In addition, it’s important to note that a non-custodial parent’s immigration status may make it difficult for them to have regular contact with their child, but the courts will still consider the non-custodial parent’s rights and relationship with the child when making a custody determination.

The court must ensure that the child’s basic needs are being met, assess the parent or guardian’s ability to meet those needs, and ensure that the child can maintain contact with both parents. Depending on the circumstances of a specific case, the court may consider factors like deportation risk, the potential for financial hardship due to lack of legal status, and the potential psychological impact of a parent’s absence on the child.

Ultimately, any decisions about custody must consider what is in the child’s best interest. Parents or guardians with an immigration status should work with a family law attorney to ensure their rights are protected and their children receive fair consideration in court.

Can an illegal immigrant get custody of a child?

Securing legal custody of a child is an essential right for many parents. Being illegally present in a country can mean that immigrant parents are particularly vulnerable.

An illegal immigrant can get custody of a child, but achieving this depends on individual state laws, the situation regarding the child’s other parent, and whether or not their circumstances meet certain criteria which must be met before attorneys can begin submitting necessary paperwork and documentation.

In some cases, undocumented immigrants must begin deportation proceedings in order to prove they have a legal standing to pursue full rights as primary caregivers should they be granted temporary or permanent resident status.

However, such attempts require extensive effort and navigating several legal barriers often unknowingly places undocumented immigrants at risk.

Can you get deported for not paying child support?

The answer to this question largely depends on the laws in the country in which you reside. Generally, no single law states that non-payment of child support will automatically result in deportation. However, some countries may take action against those who fail to pay court-ordered child support obligations and can even consider it a criminal offence. 

If a person has been charged with such an offence, they may be at risk of deportation depending on the severity of the penalty. Additionally, some countries may view non-payment as evidence of financial instability and therefore consider it grounds for denying entry or removal from their country. 

Under U.S. law, failure to pay court-ordered child support payments can be considered a violation of immigration and criminal law, even if the person who owes the money is not American. Immigration authorities may start deportation proceedings if they determine that a person has willfully not paid child support payments even after a court order has been issued.

However, all hope is not lost, as there are ways in which individuals who owe back payments may make arrangements with their local courts to ensure they don’t end up in this challenging situation.

Can you get child support if the father lives in another country?

Pursuing child support from a parent living in a different country can be exhausting. Issues like language, distance, legal proceedings, and paperwork can make this complicated for parents.

However, with the right legal help, getting financial assistance for your child is still possible even when the other parent is living in another country. Most countries have signed on to international conventions that allow you to pursue them for financial obligations.

Additionally, some states have reciprocal agreements with foreign countries allowing kids to receive funds even if their non-custodial parent resides abroad. It may be difficult work, but with proper research and due diligence, you can pursue child support from the parent overseas.


Though child support from an undocumented immigrant parent may be challenging to obtain, it is not out of the realm of possibility. By being familiar with your state law and utilizing international agreements, you increase the chance of getting the financial assistance required for your kid’s future.

With a reliable legal team on your side and thorough research, you can create a better outcome for both yourself and your child.

About Shakir Ahmed

Head of the editorial team. I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from UoL. Written hundreds of articles on divorce, child custody, employment and other human rights law topics for blogs and websites worldwide. Worked 6 years as a relationship development trainer. For any communication regarding any legal matter, please feel free to email me at shakir@lawyersnlaws.com

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