The month of August means many things to people – summer vacation, back-to-school shopping, or a last chance to enjoy the warm weather. There is another reason that August is a special month – it is recognized as National Child Support Awareness Month.
President Bill Clinton started this monthly observation back in 1995 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Child Support Enforcement Program. At the time of his Proclamation, he stated “This month we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Child Support Enforcement Program at HHS. This program—at the Federal, State, and local levels—has been instrumental in giving hope and support to America's children while fostering strong families and responsible parenting.”1 In the years since then, agencies all over the country have worked tirelessly for the rights and welfare of children.
In New Jersey, the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Support Services oversees child support and enforcement. Many years ago, their focus was mainly to track down and enforce support payments. Things have changed and today’s efforts don’t just focus on obtaining support funds; the Office also provides support to parents in an effort to help them understand their parental responsibilities and to fulfill them. The Office of Child Support Services’ web site conveys a supportive tone to parents: “We are here to help you do the right things. Committed to assisting parents to obtain the financial support necessary for their children to prosper in a stable setting, the Office of Child Support Services is equally dedicated to helping parents understand how critical their participation is in the lives of their children. Both parents have a responsibility to support their children financially and emotionally … child support is more than just money.” 2
In 2000, the state of New Jersey took further action with P.L. 2000, c. 81, which requires attorneys and involved parties in civil actions, probate procedures and workers compensation cases to ascertain whether the prevailing parties or beneficiaries are child support judgment debtors before releasing a monetary award or settlement. Signature supports this effort with its certified Child Support Judgment Search, which can confirm whether a child support judgment exists against the name(s) requested.
Financial support is a right that belongs to every child, and our searches are just one tool in the arsenal to fulfill that right. In what other ways can we all help to support our community’s children?
The information provided is for informative purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or a legal opinion. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.