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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Courts vs. Agencies in Child Support Collection

Child support enforcement is universally a difficult proposition.  In fact, the United Kingdom has overhauled its child support system several times since the Child Support Act 1991 replaced the previous, piecemeal framework.  However, one feature has stayed the same in these overhauls: the significant authority over child support placed in a centralized agency.

This is, of course, stands in stark contrast to the American court’s role in adjudicating parent’s child support issues.  Only custodial parents receiving welfare must assign their right to sue for child support to the state, the rest may sue an obligor parent in court.

In a forthcoming article in the Catholic University Law Review, I consider the pros and cons of each approach, although neither seems to have achieved an efficient child support system.  On the one hand, a centralized agency may be beneficial to those custodial parents who cannot afford to litigate.  On the other hand, perhaps it is best to let the biggest stakeholder in child support enforcement—the custodial parent—retain control over the collection.  Ultimately, however, efficiency must be improved in the child support system, as more children depend on it than ever.

Posted by Margaret Ryznar on September 26, 2013 at 01:56 PM | Permalink

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Can decisions by the agency be appealed to a court (the same way decisions by the VA can be appealed to the Veterans' Appeals Court.)

Posted by: Michael Ejercito | Sep 26, 2013 9:05:36 PM

There is an internal appeal procedure within the agency, then an appeal goes to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, then to the higher tribunal called the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals), and then to the courts.

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Sep 26, 2013 11:02:39 PM

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