New Federal Child Support Rules Under Discussion

States don’t just have their own child support laws, but must also follow federal law on the matter. Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Support Enforcement put up a list of proposed changes for public comment. The response was positive, though some legislators are trying to pass bills that would block some of the changes. If the new regulations were to go into effect, it would cause a massive overhaul of the current system. Here are some of the high points:

  • States would have to have to consider a non-custodial parent’s actual ability to pay when setting child support orders.
  • Incarceration would no longer be considered “voluntary unemployment” for the purposes of paying child support (This is already the case in Washington.)
  • States would have access to federal money to give employment services to unemployed and underemployed child support payers so they can meet their obligations.
  • States will be able to factor in visitation and parenting time into child support orders, as well as spend federal funds to educate divorcees on co-parenting and responsible parenting.

For more information about the changes and why they’re important, you can read the full opinion piece at

Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC helps couples with questions about divorce and child support settlements. If you need help and you live in the state of Washington, contact one of our experienced family law attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consultation.


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