State Of North Dakota To Oppose Shared Parenting

Started by woof, Aug 16, 2006, 06:04 PM

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The only good news from this is that they didn't use the "75% of fathers who seek custody of their children are batterers" propaganda. The governments compliance in this country's epidemic of fatherless children is becoming more transparent everyday.
State Of North Dakota To Oppose Shared Parenting
Aug 16 2006 9:51AM
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I just heard from North Dakota Shared Parenting Chairman Mitch Sanderson that the State of North Dakota will be taking an official stance in opposition to the Shared Parenting Initiative. Mitch got a call from Duane Houdek, a lawyer working in Governor Hoeven's office, who told Mitch that it is the state of North Dakota's position that the shared parenting initiative would put North Dakota child support guidelines out of compliance with federal standards, something that would in turn cause North Dakota to lose some $70 million in federal funding.

Mr. Houdek, and by extension Governor Hoeven, could not be more wrong on this issue.

As I have explained before, the Shared Parenting Initiative would not put North Dakota out of compliance with federal standards. The standards for state child support guidelines are found in federal code Title 45, Volume 2, Section 302.56 which you can all read for yourselves here.

Basically, all federal law requires of state child support guidelines is a) that the state have a formula for determining the amount of child support and b) that the formula take into account all of an obliged parent's income. That's it. Federal law does not prohibit additional calculations (such as determining the actual cost of raising a child) from being used to determine the amount of child support pays, nor does the Shared Parenting Initiative prohibit the amount of income to be used as well.

In short, the Shared Parenting Initiative is explicitly in compliance with federal standards.

So why is Governor Hoeven's office saying that the SPI isn't in compliance with federal standards? It helps if we follow the money.

The federal funding the North Dakota Child Support agency receives is based on the number of dollars that agency collects in child support. The more child support money they collect the more federal funding they receive. The NDSPI would more than likely reduce the amount of child support collected in North Dakota by preventing support payments from exceeding the cost of raising the child. Currently many parents pay hundreds of dollars a month more than they need to because current child support guidelines are based only on income, not the needs of the children. The bureaucrats down at the child support offices like that because it means more federal dollars for them.

What we need to ask ourselves is this: What's more important? A family law system that is equitable to both parents of a child and does not require child support payments in excess of what is needed or keeping the amount of federal funds the child support agency receives high?

Personally, I pick the first one. Especially in light of a recent announcement that North Dakota has a half a billion dollar budget surplus.

There is no reason to be sacrificing equality for the sake of some federal dollars right now.
Even a whole village can't replace dad, children need both parents.


ND report on child support collections for 2005:

Total dollars collected                 $62,992,073

Welfare assisted                            2,262,688

Former assisted                            23,229,931

Medicaid never assisted                 21,853,573

Never assisted                              15,645,881

Number of children served                   35,564

The following is from the Child Support Enforcement with an explanation of how incentive payments (rewards to states for collecting child support)
are determined. It is worth a lot of money for a state to establish paternity, child support orders, and to collect child support. It is extremely important to include non welfare families in the system because they have higher child support orders, thus increasing the total dollars collected.

How an Incentive Payment is Determined

Because of the complexity of the incentives formula set forth in section 458 of the Social Security Act, we have included an example of how the system would work in a particular year for State A. Let's make the following assumptions regarding State A (See table A):

State A's paternity performance level is 93 percent, making its applicable percent 100 percent (see table C)
State A's order establishment performance level is 74 percent, making its applicable percent 88 percent (see table C)
State A's current support collections performance level is 59 percent, making its applicable percent 69 percent (see table D)
State A's arrearage support collections performance level is 60 percent, making its applicable percent 70 percent (see table D)
State A's cost-effectiveness ratio is $4.40, making its applicable percent 80 percent (see table E)
State A's collections base is $50 million (determined by 2 times the collections for Current Assistance, Former Assistance, and Medicaid Never Assistance plus Never Assistance collections and fees retained by other states)
The maximum incentive for State A is:

$50 million collections base for paternity ($50 mil. times 1.00), plus
$44 million collections base for orders ($50 mil. times 0.88), plus
$34.5 million collections base for current collections ($50 mil. times 0.69), plus
$26.25 million collections base for arrearage collections ($50 mil. times 0.754 times 0.70) plus
$30.0 million collections base for cost-effectiveness ($50 million times 0.755 times 0.80) equals
Resulting in a maximum incentive base amount of $184.75 million for State A.
Table A

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