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Federal system aims to standardize child support enforcement

When Virginia parents with primary custody don't receive their court-mandated child support payments, they can have trouble making ends meet. With the costs of daycare, after-school care, extracurricular activities and general expenses of life, child support can be critical. The federal government is working to develop a national system that will aim to synchronize child support enforcement activities across the country.

While many initiatives of the Trump administration have generally moved away from federal centralization and toward state authority, the Child Support Technology Fund is centered in the federal Department of Health and Human Services. This $63-million fund would be used to develop a new IT system that would monitor and enforce state-ordered child support payments. Rather than helping states to modernize their own proprietary systems, the HHS would then make the federal system available for states to join.

States have invested significant amounts of money in child support database modernization efforts. However, the HHS estimates that the use of a single federal system would save approximately $800 million over the next five years. In 1995, Congress required states to create effective systems for child support collection and enforcement. However, many states have faced extreme difficulties in developing and modernizing the systems, some of which face obsolescence in the coming years.

The network of government systems used to enforce collection of child support payments can be complex and difficult to manage, especially for a single parent seeking to provide for their children. An attorney can help a parent pursue unpaid child support, modify support orders and deal with other family law issues that arise.

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