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Federal agency seeks improved child support enforcement

Child support enforcement can be a major concern for Pennsylvania families, especially those dealing with unpaid or delinquent child support. The use of systems such as payroll collection has helped many families receive the support to which they are entitled. The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) oversees state activities to collect child support through automated and electronic means. This is a popular form of child support collection. In 2016, around $33 billion was collected in child support payments by the agency. Of that amount, 75 percent of payments came as part of payroll withholding at the delinquent payer's place of work.

The OCSE is working with payroll agencies and professionals to improve the system for a smoother process for everyone involved. State child support agencies often issue verification of employment requests. Under law, the employer must pay the fees for these requests, but third-party processors have been billing state agencies instead. The federal agency is acting to make sure that all of these requests are needed and that fees are properly directed when necessary.

In addition, the reporting of new hires can be another barrier to child support collection. Since many places of business hire workers in a number of states, the OCSE has established a multistate registry that allows employers to register all of their staff in one state and note their multiple states of operation. This process can lift an extra burden from employers while making it easier for child support agencies to identify delinquent parents.

Improving the technology of child support enforcement can also help improve the results of struggling families who are working hard to pay the bills after child support goes unpaid. People who are dealing with a delinquent parent who refuses to pay support as ordered by a court after a divorce can work with a family law attorney. A lawyer can help initiate action for enforcement and implementation.

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