Child Support Legislative Enactments: 2011
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State lawmakers enacted various policies aimed at improving the collection of child support in their states. In 2011, at least 25 states passed laws relating to child support, including policies on administrative processes, support guidelines, enforcement and collection procedures, arrears and child support debt, employment for noncustodial parents, paternity establishment and interstate and international cases.
Below is a summary of state legislation by policy area.
At least five states passed laws relating to administrative processes and procedures, including electronic communications, data sharing and convening a task force on incorporating college concerns into the child support process.
Arizona SB1045: Allows for electronic notices of child support orders.
Delaware SB 114: Requires the state registrar of vital statistics to submit a monthly report to the Division of Child Support Enforcement of all births to women under the age of 18.
Hawaii HB 1005: Includes tribal child support agencies, other states, territories or foreign countries as authorized entities with which services and information can be shared.
New Mexico House Memorial 71: Requests the state bar to convene a task force to study how to incorporate a child's post-secondary education into the determination of child support obligation.
Oregon SB45: Standardizes the response time in child support hearing requests to 30 days.
At least six states incorporated new laws on child support guidelines, covering topics such as the guideline review and model used; including or excluding certain types of income when determining the child support amount; and extending child support beyond the age of majority.
Arizona SB 1192: Requires the state Supreme Court to have an independent research organization review and assess the methodology in the child outcome based support model to understand the effect that model would have on the courts and on child support for families before adopting the model.
Delaware HB132: Authorizes the court to order a party to designate a minor child as beneficiary on an existing life insurance policy for the duration of the child support order.
Georgia SB115: Excludes foster care payments from the calculation of gross income for determining child support obligation.
Oregon SB 43: Increases the amount subject to withholding from lump sum payments or insurance settlements; allows a lower amount under certain circumstances if it is determined it would affect the ability of an obligated parent—a parent who owes child support—ability to meet their basic needs.
Rhode Island HB 5216: Authorizes the court to extend child support beyond the age of majority for children with severe physical or mental impairments.
Texas SB 716: Requires the IV-D agency to review the guidelines every four years as opposed to every two years (Dec. 1 of even-numbered year).
Texas SB1751: Excludes nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions by obligated parents who are not required to pay Social Security taxes in calculation of net resources available in determining child support.
Enforcement and Collection Procedures
At least six states addressed concerns around enforcement and collection procedures. States passed laws on collecting child support debt, revocation of bail bondsmen licenses, and child support liens and property claims.
Arizona SB 1103: Exempts child support payments from the definition of property in the state laws governing its duties to locate and return unclaimed property.
Illinois HB 466: Amends the Uncollected State Claims Act on certified uncollectible debt to specify that the state cannot sell child support debt or set up a deferral or compromise arrangement.
North Carolina HB 649: Adds failure to pay child support as grounds for denial, suspension, revocation or nonrenewal of a bail bondsmen license.
Texas HB 1674: Applies child support liens to all real and personal property including the proceeds of a life insurance policy or annuity contract. Provides for a levy on the financial institution account of a deceased obligated parent. Authorizes the IV-D to establish a payment incentive program for obligated parents with child support arrears.
Virginia HB 1694: Increases the minimum child support payment that an obligated parentr must make as part of an agreement to pay on a delinquent order in order to renew or reinstate a driver’s license.
Vermont SB101: Reduces the surcharge on past-due child support from 1 percent to one-half of one percent or an annual rate of 6 percent. Creates a working group to examine ways to help obligated parents comply with orders; the use of contempt; arrears; license suspension; presumptive orders; age of majority and feasibility of a family problem-solving court.
At least four states specifically addressed the issue of child support arrears through legislative policies to clarify time frames during which states can collect arrears; how much can be collected through personal injury claims; reducing the interest rate; and publishing lists of delinquent obligors.
Idaho SB 1103: Revises the time frame during which an action or proceeding to collect child support arrearages can be commenced; removes a qualification as to the judgment under which a lien arises; revises the time frame during which a lien arising from the delinquency of the payment due under a recorded child support judgment continues; provides for the renewal of a child support judgment and the duration of the lien established thereby
Maryland HB 837: Clarifies that 25 percent of a recovery from a personal injury claim can be set aside to pay for child support arrears.
Oklahoma SB 576: Authorizes the department to release delinquent or missing parent "Most Wanted" list of individuals who are in arrears in court-ordered child support obligations.
West Virginia HB 3134: Reduces the interest rate on arrears to 5 percent.
Employment and Policies Directed at Low-Income Noncustodial Parents
At least two states included new policies addressing the employment needs of obligated parents and allowing for noncustodial parents to engage in employment training and extending the timeframe during which the obligor can be seeking employment.
Maine HB179: Extends to one year or until the obligor finds work (from 6 months) a court order to seek employment for obligors who claim inability to pay because of unemployment.
New York AB 7520: Authorizes the court to establish a child support order below the minimum $25 amount if deemed just and appropriate given the person’s circumstances.
New York AB 7794: Authorizes the court to order an obligated parent who is in violation of the support order to seek employment or participate in job training or other employment programs.
At least four states addressed paternity issues, specifically the process by which a father can disestablish paternity.
Connecticut SB 1181: Removes the $50 fee for an amended birth certificate when paternity established through court order or voluntary acknowledgment; allows information sharing across agencies with which the IV-D has cooperative agreements.
Mississippi HB 344: Provides that a legal father may disestablish paternity and terminate a child support obligation by filing a petition through the court and submit genetic tests that indicate the person is not the biological father. Establishes a one-year time limit to rescind a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
North Carolina SB 203: Allows a party to disestablish paternity if the affidavit of parentage was entered as the result of fraud, duress, mutual mistake, or excusable neglect and genetic tests establish that the putative father is not the biological father of the child.
Texas SB 785: Provides for disestablishment of paternity and duty to pay child support. Provides that a party who has either signed an acknowledgement of paternity or is adjudicated to be the father of a child without obtaining genetic testing and believes to be mistakenly identified as the father to terminate the parent-child relationship and terminate the responsibility to pay child support.
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)
At least five states passed legislation related to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act and bringing state law in compliance with recent federal changes. Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah all revised statutes to bring the state into compliance with recent federal policy changes.
About This NCSL Project
NCSL staff in D.C. and Denver can provide comprehensive, thorough, and timely information on critical child support policy issues. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families.NCSL's online clearinghouse for state legislators includes resources on child support policy, financing, laws, research and promising practices. Technical assistance visits to states are available to any state legislature that would like training or assistance related to this topic.
The Denver-based child support project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Sheri Steisel and Emily Wengrovius can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or email@example.com.
The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Human Services and Welfare Standing Committee.
For more information regarding NCSL's child support work, please visit our Child Support Homepage.