Melody K. Waring


Ph.D. Student


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mwaring​@wisc​.edu

School of Social Work


University of Wisconsin-Madison


1350 University Ave
Office 126
Madison, WI 53706


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Use of child support enforcement actions and their relationship to payments.


Journal article


Daniel R. Meyer, Maria Cancian, Melody K. Waring
Children and Youth Services Review, 2020 Jan, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104672

Abstract:
Child support can be a critical source of income for low income families, but many noncustodial parents do not pay the support they owe. The child support enforcement program has a number of tools to facilitate child support collections in response to nonpayment, such as suspending licenses and holding court hearings. Despite policy interest in raising levels of compliance with child support orders, little research exists on the use of enforcement actions or their effectiveness. In this analysis, we provide descriptive statistics on the use of enforcement actions and whether there is a relationship between these actions and beginning to pay. We use state administrative data for a sample of noncustodial fathers in the state of Wisconsin. We find that most nonpaying fathers receive at least one enforcement action during their first nonpayment spell, where the most common action is a letter. Actions beyond letters are relatively infrequent in most counties, and almost never used as a first step, though there is significant cross-county variation.  Most enforcement actions are associated with beginning to pay support, though suspending licenses is sometimes related to a lower likelihood of beginning to pay. Our analysis is not causal, and so does not provide strong evidence about whether (and when) various enforcement tools should be used. However, it provides new evidence on an understudied question, and a basis for future research on the effectiveness of alternative approaches.

Cite

APA
Meyer, D. R., Cancian, M., & Waring, M. K. (2020). Use of child support enforcement actions and their relationship to payments. Children and Youth Services Review, 108, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104672.

Chicago/Turabian
Meyer, Daniel R., Maria Cancian, and Melody K. Waring. “Use of Child Support Enforcement Actions and Their Relationship to Payments.” Children and Youth Services Review 108 (January 2020): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104672.

MLA
Meyer, Daniel R., et al. “Use of Child Support Enforcement Actions and Their Relationship to Payments.” Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 108, Jan. 2020, p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104672.