January 13, 2015
By Ned Holstein, Founder and Acting Executive Director

This is the most important newsletter I have sent you in at least a year.

This newsletter contains quick and easy steps you can take to improve the child support formula in every state of the country! All you have to do is cut-and-paste! If you do not act by Friday, it is too late. If you do not act by Friday, never complain about your child support order again!

Background

There is a federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in Washington. It makes rules and regulations about child support that each state must follow. Now, for the first time in decades, they are overhauling their rules and regulations for the states’ child support formulae. They have invited the public to comment on their proposed changes to the rules and regulations. They are required to take our comments into consideration when writing their final rules. Our comments are due by the end of the day on Friday.

What You Need to Do

Cut the language below, go to the federal link we give you, and paste it into the “Comment” box. (Exact instructions below.) Then forward this newsletter to everybody you know on the entire earth, and ask them to do the same thing!

That’s it. One minute. If you get a $100 per month reduction in child support for the next twelve years, your rate of pay for that minute will be $864,000 per hour after taxes, or over $1 million per hour before taxes!

What Are We Demanding? (Basically, a fair deal that also supports our kids!!)

 The language is somewhat technical, but here is what it boils down to:

  1. The child support calculation would be based on the earnings of both parents, not just you, and you would bear only your fair share of the cost of raising your child.
  2. Child support would be based on the marginal cost of raising a child (technical, but makes a huge difference in the dollars).
  3. Child support would be adjusted based on how much parenting time you do.
  4. Unless you are voluntarily underemployed, child support would be based on your actual earnings, not “imputed income” (such as what you used to earn, or what you “ought” to earn)
  5. Pressure on a voluntarily idle parent to work (in the form of imputed income to them)
  6. Limitations on child support add-ons, like summer camp, or violin lessons. (Nice for the kids, but should be voluntary.)
  7. Child-support to terminate in most cases at age 19, or high school graduation, whichever is earlier
  8. At high incomes, a fixed dollar cap on child support orders
  9. Stronger protections of subsistence income for very poor payors
  10. Public hearings around the country on the proposed changes to the child support guidelines — your chance to tell them exactly what you think
  11. Quick modifications if income changes, protections against paternity fraud, quick implementation of the new rules, and more!!

This is a rare opportunity. We must take full advantage of it. We must band together, or fall in defeat. Please do your part. 10,000 voices are thunderous.

Exact Instructions

  1. Cut the language you see below.
  2. Then click on this Government Link. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/11/17/2014-26822/flexibility-efficiency-and-modernization-in-child-support-enforcement-programs
  3. Look for a green button towards the right that says “Submit a Formal Comment” and click on it. The button should look like this: Submit a Formal Comment
  4. You will then see a “Comment” Box.
  5. Just paste into that box, and also fill in the additional information they request, such as your name.
  6. Follow the “Continue” buttons.
  7. Check the box for “I read and understand the statement above” at the bottom of the page.
  8. Click on “Submit Comment.”

After you cut and paste, forward this newsletter to everyone you know and ask them to do the same thing. Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, elists whatever you’ve got.

Cut and Paste the Comments Below

I support the proposed changes, but propose the following additional changes:

§302.56

(a) Within one year after publication of the final rule, the State must establish

(b) The State must have procedures for making the guidelines available to all persons in the State who request them.

(c)(1) Take into consideration actual earnings and income of both parents;

( c) (2) computation of the support obligation. The computation must be based on the actual earnings and income of both parents, with an explicit numerical rule for dividing the overall support between the two parents, including adjustments for the amount of parenting time provided by each parent;

( c)(4) Ensure that the total child support obligation, including any amounts due under § 302.56 ( c) (3), does not cause the remaining gross income and earnings of the payor to fall below the federally defined poverty level for a single adult multiplied by the size of the payor’s family. The size of the payor’s family shall be defined as one plus the proportion of overnights the children who are the subject of the child support order spend with the payor. Any amount ordered for support shall be based upon available data related to both parents’ actual earnings and income, or other evidence of ability to pay, such as documentary evidence that income or assets are not consistent with either parent’s current standard of living. If the children who are the subject of the support order are all greater than 2.0 years of age, and do not have documented special medical or educational needs, an able-bodied parent who is voluntarily employed for less than 30 hours per week shall be subject to imputed income, but if the payor is gainfully employed for at least 30 hours per week, no income shall be imputed to the payor if the recipient is gainfully employed for less than 30 hours per week by choice. The calculated child support order shall constitute the entire financial obligation of the payor, except as may relate to sharing of private education and/or higher education expenses, uninsured medical expenses, or to extraordinary circumstances. The guidelines established under this section shall terminate child support at age 19 or upon graduation from secondary school, whichever occurs earlier, unless the child who is the subject of the order has special medical or educational needs; except that State statutes providing for the support of older children of intact marriages may be applied identically to parents who are subject to these provisions. In high income cases, child support guidelines shall be capped, but such caps shall be no less than $35,000 for one child, $50,000 for two children, and $65,000 per year for three or more children, unless the child who is the subject of such an order has documented special medical or educational needs.

(c )(5)(i)   As part of the review of a State’s guidelines required under paragraph (e) of this section, a State must consider economic data on the marginal cost of raising children, and the child support orders that result from the guidelines must approximate the payor’s specified share of such marginal costs. The State must analyze case data

(e)  the determination of appropriate child support award amounts. The State shall publish on the Internet and make accessible to the public all reports of the reviewing body, the membership of the reviewing body, when the guidelines became effective, and the date of the next quadrennial review. The reviewing body shall include two members of the general public, one who advocates for payors, and one who advocates for recipients of child support.

Miscellaneous, to be inserted where appropriate:

1) Alimony or spousal support orders shall not be subject to enforcement by the IV-D agency except in those cases in which there is a concurrent child support order.

2) Public hearings shall be held concerning the proposed revisions in each federal region.

3) When a child support order has been established for a nonmarital child, the IV-D agency shall cause genetic marker testing to be carried out within 30 days after establishment of the child support order unless the presumed father objects. Should the genetic marker testing indicate that the presumed father is not the biological father, the IV-D agency shall take immediate actions to terminate the support order.

4) The guidelines shall call for prompt modification of existing child-support orders upon filing of a complaint for modification, if there has been a significant change in circumstances. “Significant change of circumstances” shall be defined to include a change in the income and earnings of either parent of 5% or more.

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