The Final Rule: Flexibility, Efficiency, and Modernization in Child Support Enforcement Programs updates guidelines for setting child support orders at 45 CFR 302.56 and the establishment of child support orders at 45 CFR 303.4. This fact sheet discusses specific revisions made to §§ 302.56(a), 302.56(c)(1), and 303.4(b). The goal of these revisions is to increase reliable child support for children by setting child support orders based on the noncustodial parent’s earnings, income, or other evidence of ability to pay. Orders set beyond a parent’s ability to pay can lead to unintended consequences, such as unmanageable debt, reduced employment, participation in the underground economy, and increased criminal activities. It is counterproductive and not in children’s best interests to have their parents engage in a cycle of nonpayment, illegal income generation, and incarceration. Support orders based on the noncustodial parent’s ability to pay should result in less conflict between parents, fewer requests for hearings, and less time and resources spent on enforcement. (Author abstract)
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