Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Various countries, including the United States, have addressed the enormous financial hardships which children face when a parent or responsible party fails to pay his or her child support. According to CBS News, the failure to pay child support in the United States is a $10 billion dollar problem. Over half of all parents who have a child in common have no child support order in place. Of those that do have such support orders more than 30% of child support payments are not made, with full compliance a rarity. The result is that many single parents and their children live at or below the poverty line.
Here in the United States, various child support enforcement mechanisms have been attempted. Across the country, the failure to pay child support can result in wage deduction orders, seizure of assets, license revocations (such as driver’s and professional licenses) and even incarceration.
In Israel, the problem is reaching epic proportions. According to The Guardian, 43% of divorced Israeli fathers refuse to pay any child support to their ex-spouses. Responding to this crisis, Israeli courts have employed new, stricter enforcement methods.
For example, the failure to meet one’s monthly child support obligation can result in a prison sentence of up to twenty one (21) days for a single violation. However, the more serious enforcement mechanism is the court’s issuance of a “stay-of- exit order.” This order prevents a parent who is obligated to pay child support from leaving the country for any reason (including a work related move, a medical issue or a simple holiday), until he pays not only any prior arrears but also all future child support until the child or children emancipate (typically age 18).
According to multiple reports from various news outlets an Australian father who moved to Israel to be closer to his two children and ex-wife was banned from leaving the country for 8,000 years or until he paid the totality of his future child support – the approximate sum of $3.3 million dollars. The order, issued as part of a 2013 divorce proceeding commenced by the wife in Israel, expires on December 31 of the year 9999. The father in this case, Noam Huppert, has already been in Israel, unable to leave, for almost 8 years. He is not alone in this situation.
While it is nearly impossible to get accurate numbers on how many individuals are subject to the stay-of-exit orders, there are other known examples. An American father, Abraham “Avrumie” Herssein, a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs, was recently barred from leaving Israel until the year 9998, one year less than Noam Huppert. According to the Israeli court Herssein owes approximately $1.5 million dollars in future child support which must be paid now, despite his claim that he is unemployed and broke.
Indeed, the US State Department notifies its citizens of the strict Israeli laws in its Israel Travel Advisory. In relevant part the advisory notes; “US citizens, including those without Israeli citizenship, should be aware that they may be subject to involuntary and prolonged stays (and even imprisonment) in Israel if a case is filed against them in a religious court, even if their marriage took place in the United States, and regardless of whether their spouse is present in Israel.”
At the present time it is unclear whether the Israeli approach has had the desired effect of encouraging and enforcing compliance with its child support orders.