University of the District of Columbia Law Review


Over the last decade, the District's child support law has changed in three significant ways: (1) by the enactment of a statute that requires sentencing judges to notify obligors of their right to modify or suspend their child support order during incarceration; (2) by the passage of a law that requires the District of Columbia government to distribute up to the first $150 of child support collected each month to custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF); and (3) by substantial revisions to how child support orders are calculated under the District's Child Support Guideline (the Guideline).1 These developments resulted from collaboration between the bar, the bench, and community advocates. The first two statutes stem from legal services providers and child support advocates working in partnership to lobby for legislation that ensures that noncustodial parents do not accrue child support arrears when they are unable to pay and custodial parents receive the maximum amount of child support paid for their children. The revision of the Child Support Guideline resulted from the work of the District of Columbia Guideline Commission-a committee comprised of family law practitioners, judges, and community advocates convened to solicit and review economic data and feedback from the courts and practitioners-with the goal of determining the efficacy of the existing Guideline and recommending possible changes. All three changes have improved the District's child support system, particularly as it affects low-income families, and have brought the District of Columbia towards the forefront of progressive state policies.

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