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New approach to collecting child support being tested

For those who have the means, paying court-ordered support is usually not a problem. However, for those parents who are struggling to make their child support payments, the heavy-handed approach often is not the most effective. California parents can seek assistance whenever there is a problem, ensuring that custodial parents are able to meet the needs of their children.

Recently, there has been some efforts to attempt to soften the approach that some child support enforcement agencies are taking toward parents who are struggling to make their payments on a regular basis. The revised approach is due to a program that is being tested by the federal government. One director, whose agency is one of the test markets, expressed relief that the workers are now encouraged to treat parents more as part of a team than as adversaries.

Most support enforcement approaches have dealt with threatening parents with a loss of driving privileges or even jail time when they are behind in paying support. Now, workers in seven selected markets around the country are working with parents and reaching out with personal notes and other individualized approaches in order to place parents at ease when having to make contact with agency employees. Along with a softer approach is an effort to simplify the process of making payments and requesting reviews for the amounts that are ordered. Even workers expressed an appreciation with a simpler method of filling out required paperwork.

The new program is just ending the first phase in what will be a five-year program. Parents are not informed that they are enrolled in the new approach, but thus far, workers expressed pleasure with the outcomes. Regardless of the new program, California parents who are behind in their payments or are experiencing difficulties in receiving these payments can request modifications to their child support orders. A family law attorney can provide assistance in these matters.

Source:, "Will kinder approach improve getting child support paid?", Kimball Perry, April 24, 2017

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