Grassley is Lead Co-sponsor of Bipartisan Measure to Strengthen Child Support Enforcement Print
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:54

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is the lead Republican sponsor of legislation introduced today that would give states the tools they need to collect child support from parents who do not pay their support orders.   

“Ineffective enforcement of child support orders is a serious problem that threatens children’s well-being,” Grassley said.  “Oftentimes a child support payment can help keep a struggling family out of poverty and off of welfare.  The purpose of this legislation is to improve child support collections while also focusing on the fact that noncustodial parents should have regular opportunities to see their children.”  

Sen. Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and Grassley introduced the Strengthen and Vitalize Enforcement of Child Support (SAVE Child Support) Act.   

“It is essential that children’s basic needs are met, and our bill helps ensure that all parents fulfill their responsibility in providing for them,” Menendez said.  “The bill streamlines child support enforcement by supplying states with new tools for interstate child support orders.  With these improvements in place, dead-beat parents will not be able to hide from their obligations to their children.”  

Under the senators’ legislation, each state would use a child support lien registry so that liens placed against property because of overdue child support can be easily found.  Additionally, the bill would make it easier for states to intercept payments made to individuals in order to satisfy child support orders by requiring automated data matches with state child support agencies.  The bill strengthens the procedures by which certain licenses, permits, and passports can be revoked by requiring greater coordination between child support agencies and license-issuing agencies, as well as requiring a passport to be restored only after complete repayment of arrears.  The bill also encourages state child support agencies to coordinate with state correction agencies to assist individuals with a support order to manage and fulfill their support obligations.   

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement FY 2010 Preliminary Report, over 11.3 million cases had child support arrears due in FY 2010. The total amount of child support due for FY 2010 was over $32 billion and 62 percent of that amount was collected and distributed. The total amount of child support due for all previous fiscal years was over $110 billion and only $7 billion of these arrearages were collected and distributed in FY 2010, a decrease of 0.5 percent in comparison with FY 2009.  

The SAVE Child Support Act would give states the tools they need to effectively collect child support.  

The bill would:  

  • make enforcement of child support liens more effective by requiring states to access a centralized database to check for liens placed against real property;   
  • clarify state jurisdictional rules to facilitate the collection of outstanding child support orders, expedites procedures for redirecting child support payments if the child has relocated, and streamlines and improves the ability of the courts to enforce child support orders. 
  •  increase the efficacy of withholding mechanisms by strengthening existing passport denial procedures and expediting the process by which states can suspend driver and professional licenses for non-payment;  
  • encourage increased coordination between child support agencies and corrections facilities to manage child support orders;
  • protect the right of non-custodial parents to visit with their children by requiring states to report on plans to facilitate access to and visitation of children by their parents; and  
  • protect vulnerable families from the deceptive and harassing practices of private child support collection agencies by extending federal debt protection laws to cover these companies.   

###