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Non-custodial Parents

The role of child support debt on the development of mental health problems among nonresident fathers

Individual Author: 
Um, Hyunjoon

Using the first five waves of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), this research examines whether nonresident fathers who owe child support arrears are at risk for the development of depression and alcohol abuse problems. To attenuate a potential omitted variable bias, I controlled for fathers’ previous mental health status by including a lagged dependent variable as a covariate. As a robustness check, I used an instrumental variable approach to correct for endogeneity and measurement error associated with mothers’ report of fathers’ child support arrears.

Reforming child support to improve outcomes for children and families

Individual Author: 
Turetsky, Vicki

Two decades of research present a stark message to Maryland policymakers: Unrealistic child support policies and practices entangle low-income black families in poverty and have become a destabilizing force in the Baltimore community. Child support orders set beyond the ability of noncustodial parents to comply push them out of low-wage jobs, drown them in debt, hound them into the underground economy, and chase them out of their children’s lives. Of Maryland parents who paid all of their current support, they were expected to pay 18 percent of their earnings toward child support.

The child support debt bubble

Individual Author: 
Brito, Tonya L.

This article examines the widespread phenomenon of exorbitant child support debt owed by noncustodial fathers in no- and low-income and predominately Black families. Drawing from qualitative data—including a court-based ethnography and in-depth interviews with lawyers, litigants, and judges—this Article explores the inflated and arbitrary nature of the debt, detailing how states utilize family law rules, child support system practices, and court processes to construct burdensome child support arrears that many poor noncustodial fathers will never have the means to pay off.

Final implementation findings from the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CPSED) evaluation

Individual Author: 
Cancian, Maria
Meyer, Daniel R.
Wood, Robert

The final implementation report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on January 15, 2019. It reflects demonstration activities that commenced in fall 2012, when the eight child support agencies competitvely awarded grants by OSCE to participate in CSPED began a one-year planning period, and concluded with the end of the demonstration period in September 2017. 

Characteristics of participants in the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) evaluation

Individual Author: 
Cancian, Maria
Guarin, Angela
Hodges, Leslie
Meyer, Daniel R.

The purpose of this report is to begin to fill in the blanks by documenting the characteristics of more than 10,000 noncustodial parents who participated in the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration program (CSPED).  The federally funded intervention was operated by child support agency grantees within eight eligible states, and served noncustodial parents who were behind on child support payments and experiencing employment difficulties. (Author introduction)

Final impact findings from the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED)

Individual Author: 
Cancian, Maria
Meyer, Daniel R.
Wood, Robert G.

The final impact report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on March 14, 2019. The primary goal of the intervention was to improve the reliable payment of child support in order to improve child well-being and avoid public costs. Key outcomes related to noncustodial parents' (1) child support orders, payments and compliance, as well as attitudes toward the child support program; (2) work and earnings; (3) sense of responsibility for their children.

A new response to child support noncompliance: Introducing the Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt project

Individual Author: 
Mage, Caroline
Baird, Peter
Miller, Cynthia

This study brief describes an alternative to the civil contempt process intended to increase engagement and consistent and reliable payments among noncompliant noncustodial parents. The Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) demonstration project was developed by OCSE to adapt and apply principles of procedural justice to child support compliance eforts. Procedural justice is also referred to as procedural fairness.

Exploring trends in the percent of orders for zero dollars

Individual Author: 
Sorensen, Elaine

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement collects data from state child support agencies on the number of support orders that do not have a dollar support amount, referred to here as zero orders. These may reflect different types of orders – medical support only, shared custody, arrears only, or current support with no amount due. Zero orders have been increasing over time within the child support program. Today, they represent 10% of support orders nationally.

Fatherhood: Ongoing research and program evaluation efforts in the Administration for Children and Families

Individual Author: 
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Services

The “Fatherhood: Ongoing Research and Program Evaluation Efforts” brief describes ACF’s ongoing research and evaluation projects related to 1) the Responsible Fatherhood grant program, 2) noncustodial parents, and 3) fathers and fatherhood more broadly. It also describes some of ACF’s past research and evaluation efforts related to fatherhood. (Author introduction)