Welfare Cases & Welfare Reform
Approximately 40 - 50% of all cases currently handled by government CSE agencies involve custodial parents with children on welfare. Formerly known as Aid To Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) welfare is now known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 is more commonly known as the Welfare Reform Act and it has brought about many new changes with respect to welfare and child support. Some of these changes are:
In aid cases, the welfare department refers the case to the CSE agency. They then pursue the noncustodial parent to establish paternity, set a current child support order, medical insurance order and possibly reimbursement to the state for cash aid previously paid to the custodial parent for the children. In instances where the children are in foster care, the state will pursue both the mother and the father as noncustodial parents. The basic idea here is that the parents absent from the home in which the child resides should be financially responsible for the care of the children - not the taxpayers. In cases where there is already a child support order in effect, the custodial parent assigns to the state, any and all child support arrears owed to her until he or she discontinues cash aid. At that point, the CSE agency will deduct the amount of "total aid paid" from the arrears owed the custodial parent and the remaining balance, if any, reverts back to the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent then has 2 arrears balances - one owed to the CSE agency to reimburse welfare and one owed to the custodial parent.
Non-Aid Cases differ somewhat. Non-aid custodial parents do not have to assign their child support arrears over to the state since they have never received any welfare assistance. The non-aid custodial parent’s income is used when determining the amount of child support set in the court order. The non-aid custodial parent is free to either waive or reduce arrears and interest or to agree to a lower child support amount than guidelines suggest if he or she chooses. Custodial parents on aid do not have those options available to them.
All custodial parents whether aid or non-aid, should provide the CSE agency with all the necessary information so they can actively pursue the case without delays.
Failure to provide required information will result in long delays. You want to include a copy of any existing court order for child support, a complete payment history, as much locate information on the noncustodial parent as possible, and birth certificates for the children if needed.
Useful Online Tools
Child Support Decrease Request Letter - Payor to Payee
Custody, Visitation & Support Modification
Resources & Tools
ENFORCEMENT -- Wage withholding is the primary means of collecting child support. Withholding requires that the employer of the noncustodial parent send a percentage of the payor’s wages to the state or county collection agency, which forwards it to the custodial parent.
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What Constitutes Emancipation to Release a Parent From a Child Support Obligation
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