Child Support Fact Sheet Series: Access to Justice Innovations

By: US Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement. Published in: June 2012

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This US Health and Human Services fact sheet identifies access to justice innovations as a critical component of ensuring child support payments accurately reflect ability to pay.

Highlights from this fact sheet include:

  • “Fundamental fairness and access to justice are critical to effective child support enforcement. Child support is at its core a legal obligation. When child support procedures are clear, realistic, and fair to both parents and their children, parents are more likely to make reliable support payments that their children can count on. Whether a child support program makes greater use of administrative process or judicial procedures, providing parents with accurate information about the child support process and helping them obtain appropriate child support orders can improve child support outcomes.”
  • “The child support program serves over 17 million children, and most of the parents involved in the child support system navigate without a lawyer. Many child support agencies have developed innovations to make customer engagement more “user friendly.” Providing information to pro se parents helps ensure that parents understand the child support process, know what to expect in the child support process, and provide accurate financial information” (p. 1).
  • “When parents are provided accurate information about the child support process, are given the opportunity to present information about their circumstances and are really listened to, support orders are more accurate and parents are more likely to comply with the orders. In fact, research suggests that parents are more likely to comply with child support orders that they perceive to be fair, while they are less likely to comply with child support orders that they perceive to be unfair” (p. 1).


Categories: Legal Aid Practitioners, News Media, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics

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