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Review of Adherence to Child Support Guidelines, Report No. 97-63, March 1998
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  • In our sample, judges awarded child support obligations outside the statutory guidelines in 37% of the IV-D cases and 57% of the private cases. Judges departed from guidelines for several reasons; in many cases, the parents reached a settlement agreement that did not adhere to the guidelines.
  • Judges express a need for the guidelines to better address low-income families, parents with multiple families, and the amount of time children are presumed to spend in the custody of each parent.
  • Proposed legislative changes to the guidelines would increase support obligations for 70% of the IV-D and 40% of the private child support cases sampled. While this increase could provide more support to children, it could also worsen the problem of support non-payment. According to judges, low-income families have difficulty paying the current guideline amount. Of those cases whose obligation would increase under proposed legislation, almost three-quarters of the IV-D and one-third of the private cases have joint incomes of less than $2,000 per month.

    Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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