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A Practice Guide: Making Child Support Orders Realistic and Enforceable

Resources / Bench Card / A Practice Guide: Making Child Support Orders Realistic and Enforceable

In 2005, the NCJFCJ received funding from the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement to provide state court judges and other judicial officers with practical, easy-to-use tools that facilitate realistic and enforceable child support orders and strengthen the ability of the nation’s child support enforcement (Title IV-D) programs to collect support on behalf of children and families. The overarching goal of the project was to help judges in the establishment of child support orders that more appropriately address the financial circumstances of parents, thereby reducing arrearages and creating a culture of compliance within which parents are more likely to support their children. The NCJFCJ produced a judicial bench card “A Practice Guide: Making Child Support Orders Realistic and Enforceable,” Bench Cards which offers assistance in retroactive support orders. The bench cards include worksheets and support order checklists.

In addition to the Bench Cards two other tools were developed under the grant from the Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Child Support Enforcement include:

The NCJFCJ developed a technical assistance bulletin entitled “Why Medical Support is Important – and Complex” to provide judges with a practice-based tool to improve court practice regarding medical support. In order to ensure that a support order accurately and realistically reflects the resources of parents. The bulletin contains historical perspectives, federal statutes and regulations on medical support orders, checklists and how to set medical support orders. This technical assistance bulletin, as well as the bench cards, was tested in pilot courts around the country.

The NCJFCJ developed a second technical assistance bulletin, “Integrating Problem-Solving Court Practices Into the Child Support Docket” containing recommendations using these problem-solving principles. By compiling practical examples of how judges can improve practice in child support cases by utilizing a problem-solving approach, this innovative project promotes the basic theme of the strategic plan that early prevention strategies help build a culture of compliance in which parents will support their children voluntarily and reliably.

Some of the information and material in these publications, particularly the principles outlines in the problem-solving bulletin, can assist you in other juvenile and family law applications, as well.