The NCSL Child Support Project, through the Child Support and Family Law Legislation Database, organizes pending, failed, and enacted legislation by various topics that impact child support policy. These topics include ways to prevent the need for child support enforcement, custody and visitation issues, economic stability of both custodial and noncustodial parents, child support enforcement, family violence collaboration, father engagement, child support guidelines, healthcare coverage, healthy family relationships, implementation, and other related issues.
For a list of 2013 Legislative Enactments by Topic, click here. Below is a description of each topic area and the types of legislation that may be found within each topic.
Child Support Prevention legislation relates to educating parents and children on the financial and legal costs and consequences of having children out of wedlock, including required parenting classes, in order to prevent the need for child support services and improve child support outcomes
Custody and Visitation legislation includes custody arrangements, parenting time provisions, grandparent visitation, and most recently, custody and visitation of deployed military parents.
Economic Stability is critical to creating positive child support outcomes. Legislation in this topic area involves ways in which to help custodial and noncustodial parents meet their support obligations through workforce training, assistance finding a job, modification of support orders or TANF pass-through policies.
Enforcement is a continuing trend. Child support enforcement legislation primarily deals with locating the parents, establishing paternity and support orders, and collecting child support, in addition to consequences for failure to satisfy a support obligation.
Family Violence Collaboration legislation deals with how to reduce family violence situations which produce or result in child support obligations. The goal of this legislation is to reduce the risk of family violence through education and help family violence survivors pursue child support safely.
Father Engagement legislation is primarily the establishment of fatherhood programs and initiatives. When noncustodial parents are engaged in the lives of their children, child support obligations are more likely to be met.
Guidelines legislation is always a major trend. Federal regulations require that states set guidelines that courts must follow in setting a child support amount. Changes to these guidelines often involve the length and amount of child support obligations.
Health Care Coverage legislation primarily deals with medical support, specifically requiring noncustodial parents to provide health insurance, cash medical support, or both.
Healthy Family Relationships are important to child well-being and consistent child support payments. Legislation in this topic area includes involving all members of the family, such as grandparents and military parents, co-parenting education, counseling and mediation, and parenting plans.
Implementation/Administration legislation primarily deals with the function and administration of state child support enforcement programs, data sharing requirements and collaboration between departments.
Other/Miscellaneous legislation captures legislation that may address issues that are unique and fall outside the other categories.
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 police, 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 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 Health and Human Services Standing Committee.