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  • Individual Author: Powers, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    So long as child support enforcement was entirely the legal domain of the states, it was nearly impossible to pursue claims across state lines, and interstate claims were characterized as the “black hole” of child support enforcement. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) clarified lines of authority, opened state IV-D agencies and courts to interstate claimants, and invented powerful new tools for pursuing cross-state claims. This paper uses Survey of Income and Program Participation data spanning the reform era to assess the success of this policy. The potential endogeneity of interstate moves with the policy regime may bias conventional regression estimates. A conditional difference-in-difference matching estimator is implemented instead. The findings indicate greatly increased administrative enforcement activity for interstate cases subsequent to UIFSA. This activity increased formal support agreements and identified greater amounts of support owed. There is also evidence of increased interstate collections and a closing of the ‘black hole’. Support collections...

    So long as child support enforcement was entirely the legal domain of the states, it was nearly impossible to pursue claims across state lines, and interstate claims were characterized as the “black hole” of child support enforcement. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) clarified lines of authority, opened state IV-D agencies and courts to interstate claimants, and invented powerful new tools for pursuing cross-state claims. This paper uses Survey of Income and Program Participation data spanning the reform era to assess the success of this policy. The potential endogeneity of interstate moves with the policy regime may bias conventional regression estimates. A conditional difference-in-difference matching estimator is implemented instead. The findings indicate greatly increased administrative enforcement activity for interstate cases subsequent to UIFSA. This activity increased formal support agreements and identified greater amounts of support owed. There is also evidence of increased interstate collections and a closing of the ‘black hole’. Support collections increased especially for welfare-receiving households, but nonwhite households and households with nonmarital births do not appear to be helped by UIFSA. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Morgan, Laura W.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    The article presents information on various developments in the laws concerning child support in the last fifty years in the U.S. Fifty years ago, the right to child support was based on the recognized principle that every child has the right to be supported by his or her parents. Child support orders, however, were based on the amorphous twin precepts of an obligor's ability to pay as weighed against the needs of the child. In the years 1988-98, the federal government enacted legislation mandating that the States enact child support guidelines and a panoply of child-support-enforcement procedures. Modern child support law has its primary origins in Title IV-A of the Social Security Act of 1935, Aid to Families with Dependent Children. (Author abstract)

    The article presents information on various developments in the laws concerning child support in the last fifty years in the U.S. Fifty years ago, the right to child support was based on the recognized principle that every child has the right to be supported by his or her parents. Child support orders, however, were based on the amorphous twin precepts of an obligor's ability to pay as weighed against the needs of the child. In the years 1988-98, the federal government enacted legislation mandating that the States enact child support guidelines and a panoply of child-support-enforcement procedures. Modern child support law has its primary origins in Title IV-A of the Social Security Act of 1935, Aid to Families with Dependent Children. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mincy, Ronald; Nepomnyaschy, Lenna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    Child support reforms in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) have substantially improved child support outcomes for children born to unmarried parents, thereby decreasing minority status gaps. However, in the years following PRWORA, racial inequalities in employment and earnings among less-educated men increased, possibly contributing to larger minority status gaps in child support outcomes. We examine minority status differentials in child support outcomes for children of unmarried parents born two years after the passage of PRWORA. We include a rich set of controls that have been previously unavailable in order to reduce omitted variable bias that has been present in much prior research in this area. We find no statistically significant difference between the award probabilities of black and white unmarried parents. However, among those with awards, blacks are far less likely to comply (make payments) than are whites. Introduction of control variables explains 22% of the white-black difference in the probability of compliance, but this...

    Child support reforms in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) have substantially improved child support outcomes for children born to unmarried parents, thereby decreasing minority status gaps. However, in the years following PRWORA, racial inequalities in employment and earnings among less-educated men increased, possibly contributing to larger minority status gaps in child support outcomes. We examine minority status differentials in child support outcomes for children of unmarried parents born two years after the passage of PRWORA. We include a rich set of controls that have been previously unavailable in order to reduce omitted variable bias that has been present in much prior research in this area. We find no statistically significant difference between the award probabilities of black and white unmarried parents. However, among those with awards, blacks are far less likely to comply (make payments) than are whites. Introduction of control variables explains 22% of the white-black difference in the probability of compliance, but this difference remains substantial and significant. We find lower award probabilities among Hispanic fathers, but no white-Hispanic difference in compliance rates. When controls are added, we explain half of the white-Hispanic difference in award rates and this difference becomes statistically insignificant. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Higdon, Michael J.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    Much of the law relating to child support is based on the fact that it is typically in a child's best interest to receive financial support from mothers as well as fathers. In fact, child support is essentially a form of strict liability with the justification being that the child is an innocent party, and thus, even those men who never consented to the sexual act that caused the pregnancy are nonetheless liable for the support of the resulting child. These men include males who become fathers as a result of statutory rape and also adult males who became fathers either as a result of sexual assault or having their sperm stolen and used by a woman for purposes of self-insemination. However, the courts' justification that all children are entitled to support from both biological parents has been seriously undermined by the laws regulating artificial insemination. In that context, a man only becomes the legal father of an artificially inseminated child if he affirmatively consents to fatherhood. This Article argues that it is incongruous to allow exceptions for formal sperm donors...

    Much of the law relating to child support is based on the fact that it is typically in a child's best interest to receive financial support from mothers as well as fathers. In fact, child support is essentially a form of strict liability with the justification being that the child is an innocent party, and thus, even those men who never consented to the sexual act that caused the pregnancy are nonetheless liable for the support of the resulting child. These men include males who become fathers as a result of statutory rape and also adult males who became fathers either as a result of sexual assault or having their sperm stolen and used by a woman for purposes of self-insemination. However, the courts' justification that all children are entitled to support from both biological parents has been seriously undermined by the laws regulating artificial insemination. In that context, a man only becomes the legal father of an artificially inseminated child if he affirmatively consents to fatherhood. This Article argues that it is incongruous to allow exceptions for formal sperm donors yet deny similar protections wholesale for those who, although not in the setting of a sperm bank, never consented to the use of their sperm. Accordingly, this Article proposes that courts adopt an approach similar (albeit narrower) to that used in artificial insemination cases to adjudicate child support claims against those men who were forced into fatherhood as a result of nonconsensual insemination. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Peters, H. E.; Argys, Laura M.; Howard, Heather W.; Butler, J. S.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Reducing non-marital childbearing and making nonresidential fathers take greater responsibility for their children were identified as goals of numerous policy changes since the 1980s. Child-support award rates for children born to unmarried parents have been quite low historically, leading lawmakers to focus on increasing both award and payment rates for this group. Nonmarital fathers are also much less likely to have contact with their children. Although evidence suggests that policy efforts increase child support awards and receipt, the link between child support policies, child support outcomes, and father-child contact has received less attention. This paper uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation on children born between 1985–1997 to investigate the relationship between child-support award and receipt and the amount of contact that fathers have with their non-residential children. Since it is likely that both of these behaviors are, in part, determined by unobservable characteristics of the father, we estimate an instrumental variables Tobit model. The...

    Reducing non-marital childbearing and making nonresidential fathers take greater responsibility for their children were identified as goals of numerous policy changes since the 1980s. Child-support award rates for children born to unmarried parents have been quite low historically, leading lawmakers to focus on increasing both award and payment rates for this group. Nonmarital fathers are also much less likely to have contact with their children. Although evidence suggests that policy efforts increase child support awards and receipt, the link between child support policies, child support outcomes, and father-child contact has received less attention. This paper uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation on children born between 1985–1997 to investigate the relationship between child-support award and receipt and the amount of contact that fathers have with their non-residential children. Since it is likely that both of these behaviors are, in part, determined by unobservable characteristics of the father, we estimate an instrumental variables Tobit model. The model is identified by our assumption that child support policy variables can impact child support awards and payments, but father-child contact cannot be directly legislated. Our results suggest that there are unintended, but desirable effects of child support establishment and collection. Policies to collect child support not only increase financial resources to families, but through their impact on payments increase visitation and contact between these children and their fathers. The estimated impact of receiving child support on contact is more than 27 days per year. (Author abstract)

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