HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT NEWS
Senate Bill 140 sailed unanimously through the house this afternoon without debate. Sen. Gay Kernan and .Rep. Daymon Ely introduced joint legislation that modernized the Child Support Act in New Mexico and brought it in line with federal law that collects more child support for New Mexico children. Passing the bill will save New Mexico from losing $ 147.5 million in federal funds: $ 122.6 million to the Temporary Assistance for Low Income Families (TANF) program and $ 24.9 million Dollars for child administration / program funding if it doesn’t comply with federal law.
Senate Draft 140, sponsored by Senator Gay Kernan, and Duplicate House Draft 190, sponsored by Rep. Daymon Ely, extensively modernize several child child support provisions to align with federal regulations and national best practices.
“This is a great day for over 200,000 families in New Mexico with current child support obligations,” said Human Services Sec. David Scrase, MD “By focusing more on parenting employment, we know from experience that we can significantly increase the flow of money to children in New Mexico to give them an even greater chance of being children. Fathers and mothers who do not live with their children can spend more time with them and develop closer relationships. The Human Services Department is deeply indebted to Senator Gay Kernan and Representative Damon Ely for standing up for the children of our state, as well as to the Honorable Jane Levy and the Honorable Debra Ramirez, both Judges on the Family Court in the 2nd District Court for consulting them on this legislation and answering questions from senators and officials as the bill made its way through the committees. “
The legislation revises several items necessary for compliance with federal regulations, such as: B. the change in the calculation of child benefit. It updates the Child Support Guidelines table and Guidelines Act to align with federal regulations based on the actual income of the combined parents and the solvency of the non-caring parents to calculate the monthly child support amount. It also allows the state to focus on providing employment opportunities and job security to help non-custodial parents meet their obligations.
The legislation adapts the timeframe guidelines for assessing fees, costs and expenses as well as assessing the retrospective arrears in child support payments from 12 to three years. The court can decide over a longer period of time whether there is substantial evidence that an action for a determination of paternity could not have been brought before the court earlier.
National best practice for child maintenance arrears is three years. New Mexico child maintenance arrears statistics show that the state raises more money for child support when the debt arrears period is shorter.
Studies show that when unconscious parents owe less debt to support their children, they have significantly more contact with their children, are more likely to interact with them, and are more effective parents. Higher debt leads to decreased mental and physical health and worsen family relationships.
Legislation stipulates that the health needs of underage children are a basis for amending a child support ordinance. It updates the terminology, e.g. B. changing from “health insurance” to “health insurance” and “insurer” to “freight forwarders”. and defines the reasonable cost of medical care when deciding whether to order it.
In addition, the legislation clarifies the role and duties of the four-year committee to review the Child Support Guidelines to ensure that the application of the guidelines results in the establishment of adequate amounts of support. It also defines their compensation and duration.
The following table shows the collection data from cases of child support in two of the largest child support offices in New Mexico, showing that higher child support collections occur when the backlog is shorter.
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