Child Support and Low-Income Families: Perceptions, Practices, and Policy

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Public Policy Institute of California, 1999 - Child support - 65 pages
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This report examines why the child support system breaks down for so many low-income families, presenting information from interviews with unmarried mothers and fathers nationwide. Four chapters focus on: (1) "Introduction" (child support policy in California and nationwide); (2) "The National and California Child Support Systems" (California's system involves: opening child support cases, locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, establishing support orders, enforcing support orders, and modifying support orders and treatment of past-due support payments); (3) "Effects on Low-Income Parents" (deadbeat dads and responsible fathers, financial disincentives created by assigning child support rights to the state, responses to financial disincentives, family conflicts created by mandatory cooperation, formal payments versus direct or in-kind payments, responses to mandatory cash support, problems created by enforcement practices, and problems with the modification process); and (4) "Conclusions and Policy Options" (general changes such as raising the pass-through and establishing child support assurance, and specific changes such as setting awards as a realistic percentage of the noncustodial parent's income, forgiving or limiting arrearage, and recognizing informal support). (Contains 38 references.) (SM)

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Contents

Acknowledgments xvii
THE NATIONAL AND CALIFORNIA CHILD
EFFECTS ON LOWINCOME PARENTS 17
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