The Effects of State-Level Child Support Enforcement on Long-Term Patterns of Arrears Accumulations Among Noncustodial Fathers

Hyunjoon Um , Columbia University

Ineffective child support enforcement is responsible for the accumulation of child support arrears. Using the first five waves of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), the study examines the extent to which child support policies affect noncustodial fathers’ long-term patterns of arrears accumulation. To avoid potential biases stemming from the censored observations, a Tobit analysis was designed to address observations clustered at zero. The study finds that the association between the number of years since an order was established and the accumulation of arrears was larger for fathers who live in states with less efficient child support enforcement. The study also finds that more efficient child support enforcement brings a smaller arrears burden to fathers who lived with their child at birth than for those who did not.

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 Presented in Session 31. Wealth and Debt Disparities