San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Country Joins U.S. Against Deadbeat Parents

REINFORCING the rights of separatedparents and their children, CostaRica and the United States signed a bilateralagreement this week that allows oneparent to collect child-support paymentsfrom the other, absentee parent, even ifthat person moves from the United Statesto Costa Rica or vice-versa.It’s the first time the United States hassigned such an agreement with a LatinAmerican country, and the first time CostaRica has ever signed such an agreement,officials said. In his speech after signingthe agreement in San José Wednesday,U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to Costa Rica,Douglas Barnes, said the United Stateshas similar accords with Canada, Australiaand some European countries.Child Welfare Minister Rosalía Gil,who attended the event, said, “I’m surethe implementation of this agreement willbenefit many boys and girls.”She was hopeful the goodwill wouldspread, adding, “It will open the way forthe United States to make other suchagreements throughout the region.”Barnes told The Tico Times CostaRica’s justice system measured up to theU.S. standard for forging such ties, butcould not comment on the possibility ofmaking similar agreements with otherLatin American countries.Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar, whosigned the agreement with Barnes,expressed his concern for the protection ofchildren.“I want to say to all the irresponsiblepeople that there will be no refuge ineither of these countries,” he said.The agreement will go into effect afterit is ratified by the Legislative Assemblyand the Foreign Ministry sends the newsto Washington, D.C.

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