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Child support enforcement system sees improvements

During a divorce in Kansas, child support and other financial issues can be some of the most contentious and difficult to resolve. Nevertheless, after the divorce is final, and a child support order is issued, it is mandatory that parents pay the support required. When a someone fails to pay court-ordered child support, the consequences for his or her children's well-being can be serious. Due to the importance of mandatory child support, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is working to improve the mechanisms used to enforce and implement child support orders.

During fiscal year 2016, the federal agency was involved in collecting around $33 billion in child support payments, and of those, the most popular means for collection was payroll withholding. In fact, 75 percent of those funds were collected through an automatic payroll deduction. While the system is highly successful, the agency is working with private payroll agencies, employers and state child support systems in order to improve its effectiveness.

Making the system better includes managing issues related to verification of employment requests, which is used by state agencies to check the wages of people responsible for paying child support. Fees are at times passed on incorrectly to state agencies rather than to employers. The OCSE is working to ensure that fees are properly applied. In addition, the federal agency is developing systems to improve reporting, particularly through clarifying the requirements for new hire reporting and for companies that employ workers in multiple states.

During a divorce, setting up a clear plan of action for child support can be particularly important. If a parent fails to pay his or her court-mandated support, a family law attorney can help the other party return to court to seek enforcement of the order. Systems like payroll withholding can be part of the process to ensure the children receive the support they need.

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