Child Support in America
Practical Advice on Negotiating and Collecting a Fair Settlement
Imprint: Yale University Press
“Child support in America is a national disgrace. There is no more widespread and profoundly consequential example of lawlessness in our society today than fathers’ refusal to care for their children after divorce.”—Joseph I. Lieberman
More than half the men in America who have been told by a judge to pay child support disobey the order, forcing millions of mothers and children to live in poverty. In this much-needed book, Joseph I. Lieberman, attorney general of Connecticut and one of the country’s leading experts on the child-support problem, explains the laws and offers practical guidance on how women can avoid becoming victims of nonsupport.
The first step is to arrive at an agreement that has a chance of being followed. The book therefore describes in detail the factors that should be considered in negotiating a fair settlement—for example, how to determine the child’s needs at present and in the future; how to determine the father’s ability to pay and the mother’s to contribute; and how to protect the child’s financial rights in the event of the death of the father or his remarriage or relocation. Later chapters provide advice on applying for a needed increase in the amount of child support-and on countering the father’s efforts to reduce his obligations.
Throughout the book, Lieberman focuses on workable solutions. For the individual mother, this may mean taking various steps to see that an existing law is enforced by the courts. From a broader perspective, Lieberman argues for forceful new state laws that will automatically subtract child support from a father’s income—whether it be wages, bonuses, unemployment compensation, or retirement benefits.
Child Support in America includes a directory of the state agencies charged with enforcing the law and of the national organizations that are working to reform legislation. The book will be an invaluable reference for lawyers, social workers, and others who advise custodial parents as well as for men and women embroiled in child support disputes.
“Child Support in America Is the most comprehensive and easily understood guide for women in big trouble currently available. Many children could be saved if both fathers and mothers would just read Lieberman’s book before they go to court in divorce matters. He walks the layman through the law’s thorny thicket better and more cheaply than the expensive divorce lawyers most people usually hire.”—Justice Richard Neely, Supreme Court of Appeals, West Virginia
“A passionate book about the dismal state of child support enforcement laws.”—Jay Katz, Yale Law School