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Non-custodial Parents

Can the Family Support Act put some life back into deadbeat dads?: An analysis of child-support guidelines, award rates, and levels

Individual Author: 
Argys, Laura M.
Peters, H. Elizabeth
Waldman, Donald M.

Federal legislation mandates the use of child-support guidelines to improve adequacy and horizontal equity of child-support awards. Using state guideline formulas, and a sample of women drawn from the NLSY we compare the effects of guidelines on children born out of wedlock versus children whose parents divorced or separated. Our analyses indicate that guidelines increase the probability of child-support awards for children born out of wedlock. Guidelines also reduce variation in awards by eliminating outliers, not by equalizing awards across the entire distribution.

The determinants of paternity establishment and child support award rates among unmarried women

Individual Author: 
Miller, Cynthia
Garfinkel, Irwin

This paper examines the relationships between several child support policies, paternity establishment, and child support award rates among never-married women. We use several state policies and practices in place throughout the 1980s to examine their effectiveness at increasing paternity establishment rates and at increasing the proportion of unmarried women who have child support awards. We also examine the direct relationship between paternity establishment rates and child support award rates.

The roles of child support enforcement and welfare in non-marital childbearing

Individual Author: 
Garfinkel, Irwin
Huang, Chien-Chung
McLanahan, Sara S.
Gaylin, Daniel S.

This paper examines the effects of stronger child support enforcement and declines in welfare benefits on changes in non-marital childbearing between 1980 and 1996. Economic theory suggests that stricter child support enforcement will increase the costs of children for unwed fathers, making them less likely to have a child outside marriage. Reductions in welfare benefits also are expected to increase the costs of non-marital childbearing for both mothers and fathers.

Child support and mixed-status families an analysis using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

Individual Author: 
Xu, Lanlan
Pirog, Maureen A.
Vargas, Edward D.

A large body of literature documents the importance of child support for children's wellbeing, though little is known about the child support behaviors of mixed-status families, a large and rapidly growing population in the United States. In this paper, we use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to investigate the impact of citizenship status on formal and informal child support transfers among a nationally representative sample of parents who have citizen children.

Applying behavioral science to child support: Building a body of evidence

Individual Author: 
Center for Applied Behavioral Science

To explore further the potential of behavioral science to improve social programs, the federal government’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has launched some of the broadest and most rigorous applied behavioral science projects yet: Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS), Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS), and BIAS Next Generation.

Making parents pay: The unintended consequences of charging parents for foster care

Individual Author: 
Cancian, Maria
Cook, Steven T.
Seki, Mai
Wimer, Lynn

Most families in the child protective services system also interact with the child support enforcement system. This study exploits a natural experiment in Wisconsin, created by the state's large regional variation in child support referral policy, to estimate a potentially important effect of child support enforcement on the duration of out-of-home foster care placement. The effect we examine is whether requiring parents to pay support to offset the costs of foster care delays children's reunification with a parent or other permanent placement.

Signing up new fathers: Do paternity establishment initiatives increase marriage, parental investment, and child well-being?

Individual Author: 
Rossin-Slater, Maya

With nearly half of US births occurring out of wedlock, understanding how parents navigate their relationship options is important. This paper examines the consequences of a large exogenous change to parental relationship contract options on parental behavior and child well-being. Identification comes from the staggered timing of state reforms that substantially lowered the cost of legal paternity establishment. I show that the resulting increases in paternity establishment are partially driven by reductions in parental marriage.

Legislating love: The effect of child support and welfare policies on father–child contact

Individual Author: 
Peters, H. E.
Argys, Laura M.
Howard, Heather W.
Butler, J. S.

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.

The Young Fathers’ Employment Program in Maryland: An initial review of participant outcomes

Individual Author: 
Passarella, Letitia Logan

This report examines the employment, earnings, and child support payments of 328 noncustodial parents who participated in the Young Fathers’ Employment Program. We compare their outcomes in the year preceding and the year following their enrollment in the program. (Author abstract)

Payments to not parent? Noncustodial parents as the recipients of child support

Individual Author: 
Cone-Roddy, Emma J.

The article offers information on the history, purpose and significance of the child support law and its relationship to physical custody of the child with noncustodial parents in the U.S. It discusses the significance of various statutes including the Social Services Amendments of 1974 (SSA), the Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984, and the Family Support Act of 1988 (FSA) in supporting the child support guidelines issued by the federal government.. (author abstract)