Child Support Resource Library
Welcome to the YoungWilliams Child Support Resource Library. Search by keywords or use the filters to select categories of interest to you. Currently, our Library consists of academic and government research articles and reports from around the country, federal opinions, and case law from states in which our full service child support projects are located.
The Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) grant tested the application of procedural justice principles to child support enforcement, specifically to situations where a parent was about to be referred for a contempt action. This paper discusses the decisions grantees made about continuing to use the principles after the end of the grant period. All grantees continued the use of the principles but in different ways including applying them to initial interactions with parents, using them in communicating with parents, and training more staff members in procedural justice approaches.
Getting customer feedback is often critical when making program improvements. Both the TANF and child support programs can benefit from seeking input from the families they serve. The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) funded the TANF and Child Support Moving Forward: Further Incorporating Family Input study to explore approaches to gathering input from families and to create resources for the programs to use. This document is a toolkit that contains resources to help programs engage families in program improvement. The next step will be to pilot the resources. The toolkit will be updated based on information gathered during the pilot projects.
A judgment entered by a court with proper jurisdiction is final and not subject to collateral attack. In this case, a stepparent filed to establish parentage of children several months after the district court adjudicated another person’s parentage. The stepparent claimed presumptions of parentage under K.S.A. 2021 Supp. 23-2208(a)(3)(A), (C), and (a)(4). The legal parents, mothers, filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the stepparent failed to state a proper claim for relief. The district court granted the motion to dismiss. The stepparent appealed.
The Court of the Appeals affirmed. It found the stepparent’s attempt to establish parentage was an improper collateral attack. Lack of jurisdiction is the only exception to the rule against collateral attacks and the district court clearly had jurisdiction when it determined parentage for the children. The rule against a collateral attack protected the finality of a properly entered judgment. The stepparent had other opportunities to make a parentage claim, which she didn’t do.
Wyoming statute requires a child support order be based on specific financial information. This case has a long procedural history. The mother and father divorced and child support was ordered in the final decree. The State filed to modify support in 2017. The district court entered a temporary order modifying support in 2018. In 2021, the district court entered an order modifying support, and the mother appealed.
In 2022, the Wyoming Supreme Court reversed the order and remanded with instructions for the district court to consider how to calculate support considering the amount of time that had passed. Following the remand, both parents were ordered to submit updated financial information during a status hearing. The father failed to provide the documentation, and the mother filed for entry of default, which the court granted. The district court made the temporary order permanent. The father appealed.
He argued the district court didn’t have sufficient financial information to support the amount of support. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed. To establish or modify a support order, Wyoming statute requires specific information. The financial information can come from the Supreme Court approved financial affidavit, along with supporting documentation, or testimony taken during a hearing. The Supreme Court found the court didn’t have financial affidavits and hadn’t held a hearing. The findings didn’t indicate if the 2018 child support calculation still reflected the parties’ current incomes. The District Court abused its discretion in entering the order without additional financial information. Additionally, this case involved two procedural issues: the timing of the notice of appeal and the granting of the motion for default. The Supreme Court found the father filed a timely notice and that his procedural due process rights were violated when default was entered before the end of his response time.
A parent must provide clear and convincing evidence in order to receive credit for payments made outside of the terms of a child support order. The mother filed a contempt action against the father for failure to pay child support. The father testified he had paid for the children’s expenses including car payments, tags, car insurance, and rent. The chancery court entered a judgement against the father for past-due support. The father appealed. The appellate court affirmed. Mississippi case law has allowed for direct payments that serve the purpose of court-ordered support but they must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. The father’s testimony wasn’t enough. He didn’t provide any receipts or documents. The appellate court also noted the father seemed to argue that anything he purchased should be deducted from his court-ordered support. This isn’t the situation. A parent can’t unilaterally change the terms of a child support order.
This report highlights the work done during the 2022 Employer Symposium, held as part of the 2022 National Council of Child Support Directors Conference. During the Symposium, child support professionals and employers worked together on improved communication and processes. Topics for discussion included lump sum reporting and withholding, income withholding orders and non-iv-d orders, the national employer database, independent contractors, opportunities to improve communication and exchange information and verification of employment, and new ways to pay employees.
Many child support agencies have begun to apply the principles of procedural justice to practices and procedures. The idea being that customers who perceive they have been treated fairly are more likely to have a positive perception of the child support program. For this report, researchers interviewed parents, child support agency leaders, and employees on their perceptions of fairness in the program Research questions included how parents became involved with the program, what aspects of child support practices are perceived as fair or unfair, what are agencies doing to improve fairness, and what would a fair program look like.
Substance abuse is a well-documented barrier to payment of a child support order in that it a parent’s ability to pay and willingness to pay. This study considers the relationship between child support compliance and problematic substance abuse. The researchers found problematic substance abuse affects compliance with child support. It suggests supports for these NCPs including programs to connect NCPs to treatment resources and assistance with modifications.
This fact sheet is part of the Centering Child Well-Being in Child Support Policy series from the Ascend at the Aspen Institute and Good+Foundation. A key indicator of whether parents will comply with a child support order is their perception of the fairness of the process. This policy brief describes practices that improve the fairness of the child support process based on the procedural justice principles of respect, voice, neutrality, understanding, and helpfulness. These practices include support orders that reflect the payor’s ability to pay, requirements for service of process that reflect modern methods of communication, and use of alternative methods for court.
This fact sheet is part of the Centering Child Well-Being in Child Support Policy series from the Ascend at the Aspen Institute and Good+Foundation. Offering employment services to non-custodial parents benefits the entire family. These programs can help parents overcome barriers to employment and find jobs that lead to consistent child support payments. This fact sheet highlights two strategies: providing employment services and supplementing income.