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Publication Date


Publication Information

56 Fam. Ct. Rev. 521 (2018)


Today, there is consensus that the current system of calculating and enforcing support obligations does not work well for disadvantaged families, most of which are nonmarital. Nonmarital children are less likely to have support orders established than marital children, and they are much less likely to experience full payment.

In this paper, we report data on parenting time, child support calculation, and enforcement actions in a population of nonmarital children for whom paternity actions were brought, in 2008 or 2010, in St. Joseph County, Indiana. The computerized, court-based record system we utilized to collect data gave us access to information on parental characteristics and child outcomes that other researchers investigating child support practice in disadvantaged populations have been unable to obtain. Our research thus offers an unusually data-rich window into current outcomes in a population where problems are large and new solutions are desperately needed. Our findings demonstrate that recent changes in federal child support regulations and programs, which post-date the orders in our study, were very much needed. Our findings also reveal both the need for additional reforms and the difficulties that lie ahead as the states begin to grapple with applying the new federal standards.

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Family Law Commons



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