There has been a revolution in child support law in the last half-century, fueled by escalating numbers of divorces and children born to unmarried parents. This collection of essays examines the state of child support policy at the close of the twentieth century and the end of an era of far-reaching reform of the child support system.
Reforms have moved the child support system from one of minimal effort, based on the assumption that children in single parent households would be supported by their custodial parents or by government welfare, to a formula-based system for calculating child support and an aggressive enforcement program to collect that support from the noncustodial parent.
The essays range from a review of child support history, with a focus on the changing mores of parental responsibility, to empirical studies of whether increased establishment of paternity and child support enforcement results in more father-child contacts, to how child support affects fathers and whether the support obligation impoverishes noncustodial fathers. The essays explore the failure of the current child support reforms to reduce child poverty, consider the need to study how to determine what is a "fair amount" of child support, and debate proposals to follow the example of a number of other industrialized nations and provide more generous public benefits for poor children.
This book will be of interest to public policy makers and professionals--lawyers, legal scholars, social workers, and administrators--who work in and study the child support system.
Contributors are June R. Carbone, John Eekelaar, Martha A. Fineman, Irwin Garfinkel, Marsha Garrison, Paul K. Legler, Mavis Maclean, Marygold S. Melli, Daniel R. Meyer, J. Thomas Oldham, Allen M. Parkman, Judith A. Seltzer, and Andrea Warman.
J. Thomas Oldham is John H. Freeman Professor Law, University of Houston Law School. Marygold S. Melli is Voss-Bascom Professor of Law Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School.