NEWS FROM THE HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Senator Gay Kernan and Representative Daymon Ely announced the introduction of laws that will modernize the New Mexico Child Support Act and bring it in line with federal law that will collect more child support for New Mexico children. Additionally, New Mexico will lose $ 147.5 million in federal funding: $ 122.6 million for the Temporary Assistance for Low Income Families (TANF) program and $ 24.9 million in administrative / program funds for Child benefit if it does not comply with federal law.
“The Human Services Division is grateful to Sen. Kernan and Rep. Ely for supporting this piece of legislation to bring our Child Support Act into line with federal law,” said Human Services Sec. David Scrase, MD “The effects of COVID-19 are disproportionately affecting the poor and the weak. Families in New Mexico cannot afford to lose TANF funding, the primary fundraising program for lowest-income families, nor can we afford to lose our federal match to manage the program that collects of child benefit helps. “
Senate Draft 140, sponsored by Senator Gay Kernan, and Duplicate House Draft 190, sponsored by Rep. Daymon Ely, extensively modernize several child support provisions to align them with federal regulations and national best practices.
“This bill is long overdue, and we need to get New Mexico into federal compliance or sacrifice $ 147.5 million in federal funds for TANF and child support,” said Senator Gay Kernan. “In addition, professional training and removing the barriers faced by low-income parents who are unemployed are the best ways to increase child support and make money for children in New Mexico.”
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.
“We want parents to be included in their children’s lives without custody, and we want them to be able to support their children through employment,” said Rep. Daymon Ely. “This legislation removes more penal barriers that prevent unconscious parents from supporting their children.”
The legislation adapts the timeframe guidelines for assessing fees, costs and expenses, as well as assessing backward maintenance payments for children 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 statistics on child child support arrears show that the state raises more child support payments when the debt arrears period is shorter.
“This bill is about getting extra cash for New Mexico children,” said Human Services Deputy Sec. Kari Armijo. “The more years we look back on trying to collect from non-caring parents who owe underpayment for child support, the less likely we are to collect anything at all.”
Studies show that when parents owe less debt to support children, without custody, 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.
“Unrealistic child maintenance jobs don’t help anyone. Our data clearly shows that the more parents owe, the less likely they are to pay, ”said Jeremy Toulouse, director of child support. “This legislation helps the child benefit program continue its modernization efforts, which will ultimately benefit the children of New Mexico.”
The legislation provides that the health needs of underage children are a basis for an amendment to a maintenance regulation for children. 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 determination of adequate amounts of support. It also defines their compensation and duration.