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Journal Issue: Children and Divorce Volume 4 Number 1 Spring/Summer 1994

Child Support Orders: A Perspective on Reform
Irwin Garfinkel Marygold S. Melli John G. Robertson


This article presents a brief historical account of child support reform in the United States during this century. Reform in this area primarily reflects a shift from judicial discretion to administrative regularity. The two predominant types of child support guidelines in use today, income shares and percentage of income, are described and compared. The authors then present information on some of the current issues with regard to child support guideline reform. Finally, a Child Support Assurance system, which would provide a publicly guaranteed minimum benefit award to custodial parents under special circumstances, is proposed. Further discussion of child support reform is presented in the Overview and Analysis section of this journal issue. Never before has the quality of the American child support system been of such vital importance to the nation's future.1