Low-Income Fathers and Child Support : Starting Off on the Right Track.

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Author (Individual)
Legler, Paul.
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This report examines the treatment of low-income fathers in the child support system in the U.S. and how the system could be improved. The report suggests that the time of establishment of the child support order and shortly thereafter is the key time for the child support agency to establish a more positive relationship with low-income fathers. Improving this "up-front" process could increase both financial and emotional support for children. The report analyzes default order practices, examines best state practices, and reviews and analyzes selected international practices. The report includes recommendations for child support programs, state legislative action, and federal action. The analysis concludes that three changes to the child support system are of particular importance: 1) reducing the proportion of orders entered by default; 2) setting realistic child support orders at the outset; and 3) making adjustments to orders to reflect changes in circumstances. (Author abstract).

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