Child support quiz


Child Support Quiz
(answers and bonus questions below)

Roger F. Gay, Project Leader
Project for the Improvement of Child Support Litigation Technology
PICSLT Index Page
September 2000

  1. Non-custodial parents pay what percentage of their court ordered child support?

a. 20 %
b. 40 %
c. 70 %
d. more than 70 %

  1. What increase in the percentage above has been recorded since the beginning of the federal crackdown enforcement efforts in 1975?

a. 0 %
b. 20 %
c. 50 %

  1. How much is spent on the federal child support enforcement program each year?

a. $100 million
b. $1 billion
c. $4 billion

  1. How many employees are there nationally in the child support enforcement program?

a. 1,000
b. 20,000
c. 50,000
d. more than 50,000

  1. The federal government spent approximately what amount to develop a computer tracking system for the child support enforcement system?

a. $500
b. $10,000
c. $4 million
d. $4 billion

  1. What part of the population will be registered in the child support enforcement system?

a. only "deadbeat dads"
b. all divorced and never married parents
c. all adults who hold jobs
d. everyone


  1. (c,d) The only federal agency that estimates the “compliance rate” for all child support orders in the US is the Census Bureau. Their official estimate is 70 percent. However, the estimate comes from a (Census) survey of recipients. Surveys of payers consistently produce much higher results. Either figure grossly underestimates the amount non-custodial parents actually pay to support their children, since it only accounts for money paid to custodial parents. No survey data exists for the amount non-custodial parents pay directly in support of their children.

  2. (a) The only change in the estimated compliance rate for all cases resulted from a change in the details used in the census survey. One major problem with the program is that there has been no systematic test against a valid baseline to evaluate program results.

  3. © Federal and state matching funds add up to $4 billion of the taxpayers’ money each year.

  4. (d) More than 50,000 – see next answers.

  5. (d) The federal government has spent a staggering $4 billion developing a computer tracking system; probably at least 1,000 times the amount a large private company would spend on a similar system if an off the shelf solution was not available.

  6. © The current target group for initial registrations is all newly hired employees. That is expected to continue, which will eventually include everyone with a job. There is of course an option to enter people into the system who do not hold jobs as well. The “new hire” approach simply collects the largest number of entries at the expense of employers.

Are you being used in the drive to increase government power and bureaucracy at the expense of sanity and human rights?


6 right – specialist expert
3 right – awake and not easy to fool
1 right – you’re educated by the mass media
0 right – member of both NOW and ACES


B1. The need for a federal child support enforcement program arises because men frequently abandon their wives and children and refuse to support them.

YES ____ NO ____

B2. Child support award amonts needed to be increased because they were insufficient in the past.

YES ____ NO ____

B3. Divorced and never married women are typically much poorer than the fathers.

YES ____ NO ____

B4. Every state has a rational definition of “child support” in its statutes along with a set of rational principles upon which child support awards are based.

YES ____ NO ____

The answer to each of the four bonus questions is no.

Women initiate divorce more than men at a ratio of at least 8-2. Research shows that the reasons they abandon the fathers of their children arely involve unbearable circumstances. Most often, they just feel like they want a change. Studies at hospitals show that most non-married fathers show up for the birth and often accompany mothers for prenatal check-ups. Researchers have observed caring relationships and a strong desire on the part of fathers to be involved.

The myth that child support awards were insufficient in the past is related to an unstated change in the purpose of child support among advocates for increases. The new version of “child support” is intended to provide for the mother at least as much as for the child. Arguments over the size of child support awards have also become confused with false claims about the percent of the amount awarded that is paid; and thus, advocates have argued for stronger enforcement measures in relation to their desire to have a higher amount ordered by courts. A good example is the current claim by advocates that only 40 percent is paid of the amount owed. They mean (among other things) that they want the size of awards doubled to include even more financial support for mothers. The actual compliance rate is between 70 and 80 percent.

Poor mothers are more often paired with poor fathers. Women’s income has risen sufficiently in past decades to bring middle class women more on par with their middle class husbands. Systematic research has shown that current child support payments make divorced mothers better off financially than they would have been if they had remained married to the father of their children. This effect is amplified when a mother remarries and thereby also benefits from the income of a new spouse.

Although states submit parents to torture and ruin for not paying their “child support,” most states have no rational definition of the term in their statutes. Few provide any rational basis for the amount of “child support” awarded.