Child Support Assurance:

Effect of Applying State Guidelines to Determine Fathers' Payments

HRD-93-26: Published: Jan 21, 1993. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 1993.

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GAO provided information on child support guidelines, focusing on the: (1) income of young noncustodial fathers and their ability to pay the minimum assured benefit; and (2) number of noncustodial fathers required to pay the minimum assured benefit under typical state child support guidelines.

GAO found that: (1) young noncustodial fathers tended to be single, separated from their children, and earned an average income of $15,000; (2) under a hypothetical minimum assured benefit payment standard, 65 percent of young noncustodial fathers would be able to meet the standard using less than two-fifths of their gross income, 26 percent would need between two-fifths and four-fifths gross income to meet the standard, and 9 percent would be unable to meet the standard; (3) under typical state child support payment standards, 34 percent of fathers would be able to meet the minimum child support standards, 57 percent would partially be able to meet the standards, and 9 percent would be exempt from payments; (4) under the poverty-protection guideline, 6 percent of benefit payments would be reduced to avoid putting noncustodial fathers under the poverty line; (5) poverty protection guidelines would exempt 29 percent of noncustodial fathers from making payments, require 34 percent to make payments which met or exceeded the minimum, and 37 percent to pay partial benefits; and (6) to reduce the government's payment of minimum assured benefits, some noncustodial fathers would have to exceed the payment minimum.

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