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MDHHS research touches upon important issue in child support: ability to pay

Child support is an important resource for mothers with minor children who don’t have the financial benefit of marriage. One of the perpetual difficulties with child support, of course, is that payments are not always consistently made. Whenever child support is not being paid, of course, that is a concern for the state, which is charged with enforcing child support orders.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support is currently conducting pilot projects which make use of software that will hopefully help improve authorities’ ability to collect child support. Different projects are looking at slightly different aspects of the child support process and system, with the overall aim of determining how to make the child support system more effective. 

One of the pilot projects, for example, looks at the impact of educating parents of children to be born out of wedlock on paternity and child support before childbirth and assigning them to a specialty court that takes a more cooperative approach to child support hearings rather than a strictly adversarial approach. That project has shown that children may be able to receive the support they need more quickly, though certainly more research needs to be done.

Another area where research is being conducted is with approaches to child support which forgive some child support payments. The thought is that forgiving some past payments could help get children the support they need sooner.

One thing that is important to understand about child support is that, in some cases, failure to pay child support is due to a lack of cooperation from the party who is obligated to pay, but not always. In some cases, failure to pay is due to reasons beyond a parent’s control. We’ll say more about this in our next post. 

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MDHHS research touches upon important issue in child support: ability to pay | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC