Menendez Introduces Measure To Strengthen Child Support Enforcement

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the “Strengthen and Vitalize Enforcement of Child Support (SAVE Child Support) Act.” This legislation aims to give states tools to collect child support from parents who do not pay their support orders.

Menendez said, “Our bill will help states make dead-beat parents pay the child support they owe. It will help enforce interstate child support orders so that no parent can hide from their obligation to their children. It will strengthen existing child support enforcement laws by giving states more tools to enforce interstate child support orders, making existing enforcement procedures more uniform, and cracking down on the deceptive practices of private child support collection agencies.”

Under the senators’ proposed legislation, each state would have access to a child support lien registry so that liens placed against property because of overdue child support can be easily found. Additionally, the bill would make it easier for states to intercept payments made to individuals in order to satisfy child support orders by requiring automated data matches with state child support agencies.

The bill would also strengthen the procedures by which certain licenses, permits, and passports can be revoked by requiring greater coordination between child support agencies and license-issuing agencies, as well as requiring a passport to be restored only after complete repayment of arrears. The bill would encourage state child support agencies to coordinate with state correction agencies to assist individuals with a support order to manage and fulfill their support obligations.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement FY 2009 Preliminary Report, over 11 million cases had child support arrears due in FY 2009. The total amount of child support due for FY 2009 was over $32 billion and 62 percent of that amount was collected and distributed. The total amount of child support due for all previous fiscal years was over $107 billion and only $7 billion of these arrearages were collected and distributed in FY 2009, a decrease of 9.2 percent in comparison with FY 2008.

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