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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)