Child Support Case Study
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In addition to examining the characteristics of those in the child support system, this brief investigates the nature of in-kind and informal contributions among parents outside the formal system. Importantly, the data presented here reflect the trends and characteristics of parents in the TASS study, a representative sample of unmarried parents who voluntarily establish paternity at the birth. Compared to fathers with court-ordered paternity establishment, those who voluntarily establish paternity are both less likely to have a child support order and more likely to comply with the child support orders they do have.
Ultimately, this brief aims to provide a richer portrait of these fathers in the hope that this information can aid in future policy decisions and enforcement efforts. Beyond conferring a host of legal rights and responsibilities, establishing paternity also lays the legal groundwork for child support, should it become necessary. Three and a half years after signing an AOP in the hospital, 2 in 10 Texas parents have a child support order for their child [Figure 1]. Unmarried parents can enter the child support system for various reasons.
In general, most parents apply for child support services voluntarily. However, families can also enter the child support system automatically if the parent or child is receiving certain forms of public assistance e. In this section, we examine the length of time it takes for a child with paternity established at the birth to become a dependent on a child support order, regardless of reason. Though a small number of parents in the sample had an existing child support order for previous children when the focal child was born in , the vast majority did not share a child support order together for any children. This period includes the time from case initiation to the point of order establishment, implying that many parents apply for services well before 20 months.
The first child support order was established 1 month after the birth, while the most recent was acquired at the end of the study period, approximately 45 months after the birth. Figure 2 shows that the number of AOP-signing parents obtaining a child support order peaks between 6 and 12 months after the birth; due to the length of time required to establish an order, parents in this group likely applied for services shortly after the birth itself. Given the relatively persistent stream of new orders throughout the study period, it seems likely that additional children in the sample will enter the child support system in the years ahead.
Child support orders opened after the survey collection period are not included. In general, the data show that parents who enter the child support system are among the most difficult to serve—even when they voluntarily establish paternity at the birth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, parents with a child support order are significantly less likely to be in a relationship with one another than their counterparts without an order; 8 in 10 parents with an order report having no relationship, compared to just 2 in 10 of those without an order. Compared to their counterparts without an order, fathers with a child support obligation are also significantly more likely to have a history of incarceration, employment instability, substance abuse, and family violence.
An astonishing 50 percent of AOP-signing fathers with a child support order for the focal child have spent time behind bars. Fathers with a child support order are also almost twice as likely as fathers without an order to have children with other partners. Finally, parents in the child support system are significantly less likely to have a college degree than AOP-signing parents outside of the system. Each month, noncustodial parents NCPs are expected to meet a specified obligation to remain in compliance with their child support order. Because many NCPs pay child support through automatic wage withholding, their monthly payment is automatically deducted from their paycheck and disbursed to the custodial parent.
Wage garnishment may not be possible, however, if the NCP is unemployed, imprisoned, or employed outside of the formal labor market. In this section, we examine the compliance of Texas fathers who established paternity and later acquired a child support order for their child born in On average, these fathers meet the full amount of their monthly non-arrears obligation just 31 percent of the time [not shown]. Put differently, the average father pays in full approximately one out of every three months that an obligation is owed. Though many fathers fail to make the full payment each month, most manage to pay something towards their obligation, as shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3 plots the average percentage of the obligation paid each month by fathers with an order that includes the focal child. Compliant fathers fall toward the right end of the graph, whereas those who fail to meet their obligations fall toward the left end. At the compliant end, approximately 20 percent of fathers pay between 91 and percent of their obligation each month, on average [Figure 3]. Meanwhile, 16 percent of fathers pay less than 10 percent of their monthly obligation, on average. Taken as a whole, fathers in the sample pay an average of 62 percent of their monthly obligations [not shown]. These cases had no obligation or payment information and are therefore not reported in compliance statistics.
To better understand the traits and circumstances associated with compliance on child support orders, we divide fathers with a monthly obligation into compliant and noncompliant groups. A father is deemed compliant if he paid an average of 85 percent of his non-arrears obligation each month. Under this definition, 25 percent of fathers are considered compliant [Figure 4]. Table 2 below details the characteristics of child support cases with compliant and non-compliant fathers. Compared to their compliant counterparts, non-compliant fathers are significantly more likely to have been incarcerated, and nearly half have trouble holding down a job.
Moreover, fathers who routinely come up short on their monthly obligations are more likely to have problems with drug or alcohol abuse. Mothers differ across compliance groups as well; compared to mothers who receive the bulk of what they are owed, mothers receiving insufficient payments are significantly more likely to have 2 or more children with another partner [Table 2]. Somewhat paradoxically, however, non-compliant fathers appear to perform better on some measures, including co-parenting and involvement with the child [Table 2]. Those who fail to meet their monthly obligations are also less likely than compliant fathers to have children with other partners, or to have a history of abusive behavior with the mother, though none of these differences are significant.
One reason for these trends may be that non-compliant fathers are slightly more likely to be in a relationship with the mother [Table 2]. Parents in a relationship are more likely to share resources informally, which may explain why some non-compliant fathers fail to provide support through the formal system. Others in this group may have even entered the child support system involuntarily due to the receipt of public assistance. This brief relies on a combination of survey data and administrative child support data to produce a more detailed portrait of parents in various support arrangements.
As shown in Table 3 below, Texas mothers are remarkably accurate in their self-assessments of what they are owed and paid in child support. Through self-reports of obligation and payment information, mothers estimated that they received 64 percent of their monthly obligation, on average. Corresponding data from the OAG-CSD indicates that the same mothers receive an average of approximately 58 percent of their monthly obligation [Table 3]. Finally, mothers were asked how often the father pays the full amount of the obligation.
Mothers reporting that they never received the full payment, however, were mostly on target; according to OAG-CSD administrative data, these mothers only received the full obligation 8 percent of the time [Table 3]. Apart from child support, many unmarried fathers provide informal support to the mother in the form of money, diapers, clothes, food, and childcare. Though informal support is provided by fathers both in and out of the child support system, it is much more common among parents outside of the formal system. Only 18 percent of fathers outside the formal system provide nothing to the mother. Approximately 18 percent, however, provide both financial and in-kind support beyond their child support obligation.
Table 4 below details the characteristics of parents in each group. Compared to fathers providing informal support, those who provide nothing are significantly more likely to have children with other partners, a record of incarceration, unstable employment, substance abuse problems, and a history of domestic violence with the mother. A staggering 43 percent of unsupported mothers are victims of emotional or physical abuse, and 35 percent say the father has problems with drug or alcohol use. Fathers who do not provide informal support are also significantly more likely to have no relationship with the mother, a history of poor co-parenting, and low levels of involvement with the child [Table 4].
Roughly two-thirds of these fathers appear to be effectively disconnected from the mother and child. The Texas child support system includes nearly 1. For many families in the system, child support makes up a substantial portion of family income and notably improves the lived experience of the child. Still, other families fail to receive adequate support, circumstances that jeopardize the development and long-term prospects of the child.
This brief set out to detail the characteristics of those who do and do not enter the child support system, as well as those who do and do not meet their obligations, in hopes of offering the OAG-CSD a richer portrait of its caseload. A deeper understanding of the characteristics and challenges of parents in different circumstances, then, provides insight into the factors driving system entry and order non-compliance. Three and a half years after establishing paternity in the hospital, 20 percent of Texas parents have a child support order for their child.
Many obtain an order within the first year, and half have acquired an order by the time the child is 20 months old. Newly adopted child support guidelines and forms. Kansas Child Support Services CSS helps children receive the financial support necessary for their growth and development. The program assists by establishing parentage and orders for child and medical support, locating noncustodial parents and their property, enforcing child and medical support orders, and modifying support orders as appropriate.
Assistance from CSS is also available to any family regardless of income or residency, who applies for our services. Haga clic aqui para ver una version en espanol del Manual CSS. A child support representative can discuss how to enroll for services, support services in general, or answer questions about an existing child support case. Make sure to include your SSN and case number to ensure proper credit. Payments are provided to the custodial parent by direct deposit or on a debit card.
Applications to enroll in those payment options can be found at the KPC Website. To view payment history or to check if a specific payment has been received, processed, or distributed please visit the KPC Website or call You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page. Turn on more accessible mode. Turn off more accessible mode. Skip Ribbon Commands.