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Federal system aims to enhance child support collection

Child support enforcement can be a major concern for single parents in Pennsylvania struggling to make ends meet after a delinquent parent fails to pay. These funds can be critical to maintaining a child's health, welfare and education, and enforcing child support orders can be an important public policy priority for both federal and state officials. One frequently used and successful tactic to enforce existing support orders is the use of wage garnishment or payroll deductions to process payments directly from an employee's paycheck.

While child support is generally treated as a state matter like other family law issues, a federal agency, the Office of Child Support Enforcement works to streamline state processes and share databases and information. This makes it possible to collect child support and track down delinquent parents across state lines. During 2016, $33 billion in child support payments were collected through the OCSE's system, and 75 percent of that came through payroll withholdings. In order to improve on this program, the OCSE is working with payroll companies, employers and state agencies.

One area of concern has been tracking down delinquent parents when they move to another state. In addition, many employers based in one state hire workers across the country. The OCSE has developed a multi-state employer registry that allows companies to register and report all of their employees in only one state along with the data for the states where they employ workers.

When a child support order is not complied with, it can become very difficult for the non-custodial parent. People who find themselves in this position might want to have an attorney's assistance when seeking to have it enforced.

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