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States Interest on Child Support Arrears

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, November 19, 2021

Interest on Child Support Arrears

10/15/2021

Many parents who owe child support miss payments and accrue some amount of debt or arrearage. States have the authority to charge interest on unpaid support at the rate set by state statute. The interest is generally determined in the same way as other civil judgments. States may look at interest on child support arrears as both an incentive to encourage timely payments as well as a penalty for those who do not make payments.

Thirty-four states, Guam and Puerto Rico, authorize interest charges for child support arrears. Many charge interest at set rates per year:

  • 12% per annum: Colorado, Kentucky, and Washington
  • 10% per annum: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Iowa, and Wyoming
  • 9% per annum: Illinois, New York, and Oregon
  • 6% per annum: Alaska, Guam, Maine, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin
  • 4% per annum: Minnesota and New Mexico
  • Dependent on Market Factors: Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, and Puerto Rico.
  • Other: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

The following table describes each State’s policy on charging interest.



Interest on Child Support Arrears

State

Interest on Arrears

Summary

Statute

Alabama

 

Yes

 

Until Sept. 1, 2011: 12% interest on the unpaid principle balance at the end of each month.

After Sept. 1, 2011: 7.5% interest on the unpaid principle balance at the end of each month.  

Ala. Code § 8-8-10

(a) Judgments for the payment of money, other than costs, if based upon a contract action, bear interest from the day of the cause of action, at the same rate of interest as stated in the contract; all other judgments shall bear interest at the rate of 7.5 percent per annum, the provisions of Section 8-8-1 to the contrary notwithstanding; provided, that fees allowed a trustee, executor, administrator, or attorney and taxed as a part of the cost of the proceeding shall bear interest at a like rate from the day of entry.

(b) This section shall apply to all judgments entered on and after Sept. 1, 2011.

Alaska

Yes

6% per annum, charged the end of the month the support was due and not paid.

Alaska Stat. § 25.27.025

The rate of interest imposed under AS 25.27.020(a)(2)(B) shall be six percent a year or a lesser rate that is the maximum rate of interest permitted to be imposed under federal law.

Arizona

Yes

 

10% simple interest per annum

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 25-510

E. In calculating support arrearages not reduced to a final written money judgment, interest accrues at the rate of 10% per annum beginning at the end of the month following the month in which the support payment is due, and interest accrues only on the principal and not on interest. A support arrearage reduced to a final written money judgment accrues interest at the rate of 10% per annum and accrues interest only on the principal and not on interest.

Arkansas

Yes

10% per annum

 

Ark. Code § 9-14-233

(a) All child support that becomes due and remains unpaid shall accrue interest at the rate of ten percent (10%) per annum unless the owner of the judgment or the owner’s counsel of record requests prior to the accrual of the interest that the judgment shall not accrue interest.

California

Yes

10% per annum. Interest accrues beginning the first day of the month following either the date the installment is due (if payable in installments), or from the date of entry of judgment.

 

Cal. Civ. Pro. § 685.010

(a) Interest accrues at the rate of 10% per annum on the principal amount of a money judgment remaining unsatisfied.

(b) The Legislature reserves the right to change the rate of interest provided in subdivision (a) at any time to a rate of less than 10% per annum, regardless of the date of entry of the judgment or the date any obligation upon which the judgment is based was incurred. A change in the rate of interest may be made applicable only to the interest that accrues after the operative date of the statute that changes the rate.

Colorado

Yes

Prior to June 30, 1975: 6% simple interest

July 1, 1975, through June 30, 1979: 8% simple interest

July 1, 1979, through June 30, 1986: 8% compounded interest

July 1, 1986, through June 30, 2021: 12 percent compounded interest

July 1, 2021 through the present: 10% compounded interest.

 

Up to counties whether they want to charge interest at above amounts.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 5-12-101. Legal rate of interest

If there is no agreement or provision of law for a different rate, the interest on money shall be at the rate of eight percent per annum, compounded annually.

 

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-14-106

Interest per annum at four percent greater than the statutory rate set forth in section 5-12-101, C.R.S., on any arrearages and child support debt due and owing may be compounded monthly and may be collected by the judgment creditor; however, such interest may be waived by the judgment creditor, and such creditor shall not be required to maintain interest balance due accounts.

Connecticut

No

 

 

Delaware

No

 

 

District of Columbia

No

 

 

Florida

Yes

The Clerk of Court calculates interest for final judgments only.

 

Interest rates are determined annually by the State’s Chief Financial Officer.

 

Fla. Stat. § 55.03

(1) On Dec. 1, March 1, June 1, and Sept. 1 of each year, the Chief Financial Officer shall set the rate of interest that shall be payable on judgments or decrees for the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1 and adjust the rate quarterly on April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding 12 months, then adding 400 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. The Chief Financial Officer shall inform the clerk of the courts and chief judge for each judicial circuit of the rate that has been established for the upcoming quarter. The interest rate established by the Chief Financial Officer shall take effect on the first day of each following calendar quarter. Judgments obtained on or after Jan. 1, 1995, shall use the previous statutory rate for time periods before Jan. 1, 1995, for which interest is due and shall apply the rate set by the Chief Financial Officer for time periods after Jan. 1, 1995, for which interest is due. Nothing contained herein shall affect a rate of interest established by written contract or obligation.

Georgia

Yes

Prior to Dec. 31, 2006: 12% per year.

Since Jan. 1, 2007: 7% per year

Ga. Code § 7-4-12.1

(a) All awards, court orders, decrees, or judgments rendered pursuant to Title 19 expressed in monetary amounts shall accrue interest at the rate of 7 percent per annum commencing 30 days from the date such award, court order, decree, or judgment is entered or an installment payment is due, as applicable. The court may modify the date on which interest shall begin to accrue. It shall not be necessary for the party to whom the child support is due to reduce any such award to judgment in order to recover such interest. The court shall have discretion in applying or waiving past due interest. In determining whether to apply, waive, or reduce the amount of interest owed, the court shall consider whether:

(1) Good cause existed for the nonpayment of the child support;

(2) Payment of the interest would result in substantial and unreasonable hardship for the parent owing the interest;

(3) Applying, waiving, or reducing the interest would enhance or detract from the parent’s current ability to pay child support, including the consideration of the regularity of payments made for current child support of those dependents for whom support is owed; and

(4) The waiver or reduction of interest would result in substantial and unreasonable hardship to the parent to whom interest is owed.

Guam

Yes

Prior to Jan. 1, 2008: 12% per annum

Since Jan. 1, 2008: 6% per annum

 

Hawaii

No

 

 

Idaho

No

 

 

Illinois*

Yes

9% per annum.

 

Ill. Admin. Code tit. 89, § 160.89. (2020)

a) Interest Established and Enforced with the Assistance of the Department

1) Unadjudicated Interest

A) Unadjudicated interest is interest that has not been reduced to a judgment by a court for judicial cases or the Department for administrative cases.  A non-assistance custodial parent is an individual who completes an application for IV-D services (see Sections 160.5 and 160.10).

B) Effective January 1, 2021, the Department will provide a custodial parent, on a one-time basis, the opportunity to establish unadjudicated interest through the Department.  The Department will accept one-time written requests from a custodial parent for both judicial cases and administrative cases.  The Department will establish unadjudicated interest when the custodial parent makes a written request and meets all of the following criteria:

i) The emancipation of the youngest child on the case for which the custodial parent is requesting interest;

ii) The principal balance for current support is $0.00 on the case for which the custodial parent is requesting interest;

iii) The minimum amount of interest due to the custodial parent on that case is $500; and

iv) The written request must be received by the Department within one year after meeting the criteria of this subsection (a)(1)(B) or, if applying for IV-D services, after the emancipation of the child, within one year after applying for IV-D services, provided that they meet the required criteria.

C) Effective January 1, 2021, interest on cases meeting the criteria of subsection (a)(1)(B) shall be calculated prospectively from the last judgment entered and contained in the Department’s certified computer system or, if no judgment was entered, from the charges and payments, or balances, reflected and contained in the Department’s certified computer system.

Indiana

Yes

Up to 1.5%

Ind. Admin. Code §§ 31-16-12-2 (2019)

If court adjudicates an accrued arrearage, interest may be awarded, if requested by a party and the court orders it. The court may order interest at up to 1.5% per month.

Iowa*

Yes

Generally, no. Statute allows interest to be charged at a rate of 10% but it is not commonly enforced.

Iowa Code § 252C.6

Interest accrues on support debts at the rate provided in section 535.3 for court judgments. The administrator may collect the accrued interest but is not required to maintain interest balance accounts. The department may waive payment of the interest if the waiver will facilitate the collection of the support debt.

 

Iowa Code § 535.3

1. a. Interest shall be allowed on all money due on judgments and decrees of courts at a rate calculated according to section 668.13.

b. Notwithstanding paragraph “a”, interest due pursuant to section 85.30 shall accrue from the date each compensation payment is due at an annual rate equal to the one-year treasury constant maturity published by the federal reserve in the most recent H15 report settled as of the date of injury, plus two percent.

2. Interest on periodic payments for child, spousal, or medical support shall not accrue until thirty days after the payment becomes due and owing and shall accrue at a rate of ten percent per annum thereafter. Additionally, interest on these payments shall not accrue on amounts being paid through income withholding pursuant to chapter 252D for the time these payments are unpaid solely because the date on which the payor of income withholds income based upon the payor’s regular pay cycle varies from the provisions of the support order.

Kansas

No

 

 

Kentucky

Yes

Generally, no, but statute allows interest to be charged at the rate of 12% compounded annually from the date of a judgment.

 

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 360.040

(2) A judgment for unpaid child support payments shall bear twelve percent (12%) interest compounded annually from the date the judgment is entered.

Louisiana

No

 

 

Maine

Yes

6% per annum, although the State does not generally charge interest

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, § 2354

Although the State does not charge interest, it is authorized by this statute. Interest of 6% per year on any support debt due or owing to the department under section 2301 may be collected by the commissioner.

Maryland

No

 

 

Massachusetts

Yes

Prior to July 1, 2010: 1% per month

Since July 1, 2010: 0.5% per month

Mass. Child Support Enforcement Division, Interest and penalties on past-due child support

Michigan*

Yes

Judicial discretion at 1% plus the average interest rate paid at auctions of five-year U.S. Treasure notes.

 

Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.603a

Michigan stopped surcharge effective Jan 1, 2010 and is charged by order of a Judge.

Sec. 3a. (1) Subject to subsection (6), for a friend of the court case, if the court determines that the payer has failed to pay support under a support order and the failure was willful, the court may order that on January 1 and July 1 of each year, a surcharge be added to support payments that are past due as of those dates. The surcharge shall be calculated at six-month intervals at an annual rate of interest equal to 1% plus the average interest rate paid at auctions of five-year United States treasury notes during the six months immediately preceding July 1 and Jan. 1, as certified by the state treasurer. The amount of the surcharge shall not compound. The amount shown as due and owing on the records of the friend of the court as of Jan. 1 and July 1 of each year shall be reduced by an amount equal to one month’s support for purposes of assessing the surcharge. Except as provided in subsection (5), a surcharge ordered by the court applies until abated by the court.

Minnesota

Yes

4% per annum.

 

Minn. Stat. § 549.09

(c)(1)(i) For a judgment or award of $50,000 or less or a judgment or award for or against the State or a political subdivision of the State, regardless of the amount, or a judgment or award in a family court action, regardless of the amount, the interest shall be computed as simple interest per annum. The rate of interest shall be based on the secondary market yield of one-year United States Treasury bills, calculated on a bank discount basis as provided in this section.

 

On or before the 20th day of December of each year the state court administrator shall determine the rate from the one-year constant maturity treasury yield for the most recent calendar month, reported on a monthly basis in the latest statistical release of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. This yield, rounded to the nearest one percent, or four percent, whichever is greater, shall be the annual interest rate during the succeeding calendar year. The state court administrator shall communicate the interest rates to the court administrators and sheriffs for use in computing the interest on verdicts and shall make the interest rates available to arbitrators.

 

This item applies to any section that references section 549.09 by citation for the purposes of computing an interest rate on any amount owed to or by the State or a political subdivision of the State, regardless of the amount.

Mississippi

No

 

 

Missouri

Yes

1% per month

 

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 454.520

1. All delinquent child support and maintenance payments which have accrued based upon judgments or orders of courts of this State entered prior to Sept. 29, 1979, shall draw interest at the rate of six percent per annum through Sept. 28, 1979; at the rate of 9% per annum from Sept. 29, 1979, through Aug. 31, 1982; and thereafter at the rate of one percent per month.

Montana

No

 

 

Nebraska

Yes

Fixed at a rate equivalent yield of the average accepted auction price for the last auction of one-year Treasury bills.

 

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 45-103

For decrees and judgments rendered before July 20, 2002, interest on decrees and judgments for the payment of money shall be fixed at a rate equal to one percentage point above the bond equivalent yield, as published by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, of the average accepted auction price for the last auction of fifty-two-week United States Treasury bills in effect on the date of entry of the judgment. For decrees and judgments rendered on and after July 20, 2002, interest on decrees and judgments for the payment of money shall be fixed at a rate equal to two percentage points above the bond investment yield, as published by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, of the average accepted auction price for the first auction of each annual quarter of the twenty-six-week United States Treasury bills in effect on the date of entry of the judgment. The State Court Administrator shall distribute notice of such rate and any changes to it to all Nebraska judges to be in effect two weeks after the date the auction price is published by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. This interest rate shall not apply to:

(1) An action in which the interest rate is specifically provided by law; or

(2) An action founded upon an oral or written contract in which the parties have agreed to a rate of interest other than that specified in this section.

Nevada

Yes

Interest is charged at the prime rate at the largest bank in Nevada plus two percent.

 

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 125B.140

(c) The court shall determine and include in its order:

(1) Interest upon the arrearages at a rate established pursuant to NRS 99.040, from the time each amount became due; and

(2) A reasonable attorney’s fee for the proceeding,

 

unless the court finds that the responsible parent would experience an undue hardship if required to pay such amounts. Interest continues to accrue on the amount ordered until it is paid, and additional attorney’s fees must be allowed if required for collection.

 

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 99.040

1. When there is no express contract in writing fixing a different rate of interest, interest must be allowed at a rate equal to the prime rate at the largest bank in Nevada, as ascertained by the Commissioner of Financial Institutions, on January 1 or July 1, as the case may be, immediately preceding the date of the transaction, plus 2 percent, upon all money from the time it becomes due, in the following cases:

(a) Upon contracts, express or implied, other than book accounts.

(b) Upon the settlement of book or store accounts from the day on which the balance is ascertained.

(c) Upon money received to the use and benefit of another and detained without his or her consent.

(d) Upon wages or salary, if it is unpaid when due, after demand therefor has been made.

 

The rate must be adjusted accordingly on each Jan. 1 and July 1 thereafter until the judgment is satisfied.

New Hampshire

No

 

 

New Jersey

No

 

 

New Mexico

Yes

Since May 19, 2004: 4%

June 18, 1993, to May 18, 2004: 8.75%;

June 17, 1983, to June 17, 1993: 15%

 

N.M. Stat. § 40-4-7.3

A. Interest shall accrue on delinquent child support at the rate of four percent and spousal support at the rate set forth in Section 56-8-4 NMSA 1978 in effect when the support payment becomes due and shall accrue from the date the support is delinquent until the date the support is paid.

New York

Yes

9% on arrearages reduced to a money judgment by court.

 

N.Y. Civ. Practice Law and Rules § 5004

Interest shall be at the rate of nine per centum per annum, except where otherwise provided by statute.

North Carolina

No

 

 

North Dakota

Yes

The interest rate is equal to the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal on the first Monday in December of each year plus three percentage points and rounded up to the next one-half percentage point.

 

For calendar year 2019, the interest rate is 8.5%.

N.D. Cent. Code § 28-20-34

Interest is payable on judgments entered in the courts of this State at the same rate as is provided in the original instrument upon which the action resulting in the judgment is based, which rate may not exceed the maximum rate provided in section 47-14-09. If such original instrument contains no provision as to an interest rate, or if the action resulting in the judgment was not based upon an instrument, interest is payable at the rate of 12% per annum through Dec. 31, 2005. Beginning Jan. 1, 2006, the interest is payable at a rate equal to the prime rate published in the Wall Street Journal on the first Monday in December of each year plus three percentage points rounded up to the next one-half percentage point and may not be compounded in any manner or form. On or before the 20th day of December each year, the state court administrator shall determine the rate and shall transmit notice of that rate to all clerks of court and to the state bar association of North Dakota. As established, the rate shall be in effect beginning the first day of the following January through the last day of December in each year. Except as otherwise provided in this section, interest on all judgments entered in the courts of this State before Jan. 1, 2006, must remain at the rate per annum which was legally prescribed at the time the judgments were entered, and such interest may not be compounded in any manner or form. Interest on unpaid child support obligations must be calculated under section 14-09-25 according to the rate currently in effect under this section regardless of the date the obligations first became due and unpaid.

Ohio

Yes

The court shall assess interest on the amount of support an obligor failed to pay if the court determines the failure to be willful and the arrears accrued after July 15, 1992.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3123.171

When a court renders a money judgment for child support, pursuant to a motion for a lump sum judgment filed by an obligee, interest shall accrue on that arrearage unless the court finds that it would be inequitable to assess interest. The interest shall accrue from the date the judgment is rendered to a date certain set for payment of the judgment at a rate specified in section 1343.03 of the Revised Code at the time the judgment is rendered. A court may assess interest on a child support arrearage prior to judgment pursuant to section 3123.17 of the Revised Code. The court shall enter the amount due, including interest, in the journal. If interest is not assessed, the court shall enter the reasons for not assessing interest in the journal.

 

Ohio Rev. Code § 1343.03

(A) In cases other than those provided for in sections 1343.01 and 1343.02 of the Revised Code, when money becomes due and payable upon any bond, bill, note, or other instrument of writing, upon any book account, upon any settlement between parties, upon all verbal contracts entered into, and upon all judgments, decrees, and orders of any judicial tribunal for the payment of money arising out of tortious conduct or a contract or other transaction, the creditor is entitled to interest at the rate per annum determined pursuant to section 5703.47 of the Revised Code, unless a written contract provides a different rate of interest in relation to the money that becomes due and payable, in which case the creditor is entitled to interest at the rate provided in that contract.

(B) Except as provided in divisions (C) and (D) of this section and subject to section 2325.18 of the Revised Code, interest on a judgment, decree, or order for the payment of money rendered in a civil action based on tortious conduct or a contract or other transaction, including, but not limited to a civil action based on tortious conduct or a contract or other transaction that has been settled by agreement of the parties, shall be computed from the date the judgment, decree, or order is rendered to the date on which the money is paid and shall be at the rate determined pursuant to section 5703.47 of the Revised Code that is in effect on the date the judgment, decree, or order is rendered. That rate shall remain in effect until the judgment, decree, or order is satisfied.

 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5703.47

(A) As used in this section, “federal short-term rate” means the rate of the average market yield on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States with remaining periods to maturity of three years or less, as determined under section 1274 of the “Internal Revenue Code of 1986,” 100 Stat. 2085, 26 U.S.C.A. 1274, for July of the current year.

(B) On the fifteenth day of October of each year, the tax commissioner shall determine the federal short-term rate. For purposes of any section of the Revised Code requiring interest to be computed at the rate per annum required by this section, the rate determined by the commissioner under this section, rounded to the nearest whole number percent, plus 3%, shall be the interest rate per annum used in making the computation for interest that accrues during the following calendar year. For the purposes of sections 5719.041 and 5731.23 of the Revised Code, references to the “federal short-term rate” are references to the federal short-term rate as determined by the tax commissioner under this section rounded to the nearest whole number percent.

(C) Within 10 days after the interest rate per annum is determined under this section, the tax commissioner shall notify the auditor of each county of that rate of interest.

Oklahoma

Yes

Since Nov. 1, 2016: 2% per year

Prior to Nov. 1, 2016: 10% per year

 

Okla. Stat. tit. 43, § 114

Court-ordered past-due child support payments, court-ordered payments of suit monies and judgments for support pursuant to Section 83 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes and Sections 238.1 and 238.6B of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall draw interest at the rate of 2% per year. Past-due child support payments accruing after the establishment of the current support order shall draw interest from the date they become delinquent. Lump-sum judgments pursuant to Titles 10 and 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes for support owed prior to the establishment of current support shall draw interest from the first day of the month after the lump-sum judgment is entered. The interest shall be collected in the same manner as the payments upon which the interest accrues.

Oregon

Yes

9% simple interest rate for judgments

 

Or. Rev. Stat. § 82.010

(2) Except as provided in this subsection, the rate of interest on judgments for the payment of money is nine percent per annum. The following apply as described:

(a) Interest on a judgment under this subsection accrues from the date of the entry of the judgment unless the judgment specifies another date.

(b) Interest on a judgment under this subsection is simple interest, unless otherwise provided by contract.

(c) Interest accruing from the date of the entry of a judgment shall also accrue on interest that accrued before the date of entry of a judgment.

(d) Interest under this subsection shall also accrue on attorney fees and costs entered as part of the judgment.

(e) A judgment on a contract bearing more than nine percent interest shall bear interest at the same rate provided in the contract as of the date of entry of the judgment.

(f) The rate of interest on a judgment rendered in favor of a plaintiff in a civil action to recover damages for injuries resulting from the professional negligence of a person licensed by the Oregon Medical Board under ORS chapter 677 or the Oregon State Board of Nursing under ORS 678.010 to 678.410 is the lesser of five percent per annum or three percent in excess of the discount rate in effect at the Federal Reserve Bank in the Federal Reserve district where the injuries occurred.

Pennsylvania

No

 

 

Puerto Rico

Yes

Interest rate determined by the Financial Institutions Commissioner.

 

Rhode Island

Yes

1% per month on unpaid principle balance

 

R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-16.5

Interest at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum on any support debt due or owing, child or spousal support, shall be assessed unless the responsible party shall, for good cause shown, be relieved of the obligation to pay interest by the family court.

South Carolina

No

 

 

South Dakota

No

South Dakota Division of Child Support (DCS) does not compute interest. However, the obligee can initiate a court action to obtain a judgment for interest. The court has the discretion as to whether or not to grant the interest judgment.

 

Interest is computed at 1% per month

 

S.D. Codified Laws § 25-7A-14

The Department of Social Services or any support obligee may collect interest on the unpaid principal balance of a support debt or judgment for support at the Category D rate of interest as established in § 54-3-16.

 

S.D. Codified Laws § 54-3-16

The official state interest rates, as referenced throughout the South Dakota Codified Laws, are as follows:

(4) Category D rate of interest is one percent per month or fraction thereof;

Tennessee

Yes

12% per year

 

Interest shall no longer accrue on or after April 17, 2017, unless the court makes a written finding that interest shall continue to accrue.

 

In making such finding, the court shall set the rate at which interest shall accrue after consideration of any factors the court deems relevant; provided, that the interest rate shall be no more than 6% per year.

Tenn. Code § 36-5-101

(f)(1)(A) Any order for child support shall be a judgment entitled to be enforced as any other judgment of a court of this State and shall be entitled to full faith and credit in this State and in any other state. Except as provided in subdivision (f)(6), such judgment shall not be subject to modification as to any time period or any amounts due prior to the date that an action for modification is filed and notice of the action has been mailed to the last known address of the opposing parties. If the full amount of child support is not paid by the date when the ordered support is due, the unpaid amount that is in arrears, shall become a judgment for the unpaid amounts, and shall accrue interest pursuant to subdivision (f)(1)(B). All interest that accumulates on arrearages shall be considered child support. Computation of interest shall not be the responsibility of the clerk.

(B)(i) Interest on unpaid child support that is in arrears shall accrue from the date of the arrearage at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per year; provided, that interest shall no longer accrue on or after April 17, 2017, unless the court makes a written finding that interest shall continue to accrue. In making such finding, the court shall set the rate at which interest shall accrue after consideration of any factors the court deems relevant; provided, that the interest rate shall be no more than 4% per year.

(ii) On or after July 1, 2018, interest on arrearages in non-Title IV-D cases shall accrue at the rate of six percent (6%) per year; provided, however, that the court, in its discretion, may reduce the rate of interest to a lower interest rate, including no interest, as deemed appropriate under the circumstances. In making its determination, the court may consider any factors the court deems relevant.

(iii) On or after July 1, 2018, interest shall not accrue on arrearages in Title IV-D cases unless the court makes a written finding that interest shall continue to accrue. In making such finding, the court shall set the rate at which interest shall accrue after consideration of any factors the court deems relevant; provided, that the interest rate shall be no more than six percent (6%) per year.

Texas

Yes

6% simple interest per year

 

Tex. Fam. Code § 157.265

(a) Interest accrues on the portion of delinquent child support that is greater than the amount of the monthly periodic support obligation at the rate of six percent simple interest per year from the date the support is delinquent until the date the support is paid or the arrearages are confirmed and reduced to money judgment.

(b) Interest accrues on child support arrearages that have been confirmed and reduced to money judgment as provided in this subchapter at the rate of six percent simple interest per year from the date the order is rendered until the date the judgment is paid.

(c) Interest accrues on a money judgment for retroactive or lump-sum child support at the annual rate of 6% simple interest from the date the order is rendered until the judgment is paid.

(d) Subsection (a) applies to a child support payment that becomes due on or after Jan. 1, 2002.

(e) Child support arrearages in existence on Jan. 1, 2002, that were not confirmed and reduced to a money judgment on or before that date accrue interest as follows:

(1) Before Jan. 1, 2002, the arrearages are subject to the interest rate that applied to the arrearages before that date; and

(2) On and after Jan. 1, 2002, the cumulative total of arrearages and interest accumulated on those arrearages described by Subdivision (1) is subject to Subsection (a).

(f) Subsections (b) and (c) apply to a money judgment for child support rendered on or after Jan. 1, 2002. A money judgment for child support rendered before that date is governed by the law in effect on the date the judgment was rendered, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.

Utah

No

 

 

Vermont

Yes

Since Jan. 1, 2012: 6% simple interest per annum

 

Vt. Stat. tit. 15, § 606

(d)(1) In lieu of interest on unpaid child support which has accrued under a child support order, a child support surcharge shall be imposed on past-due child support. Beginning July 1, 2004, the surcharge shall be computed and assessed monthly at a rate of one percent or an annual rate of 12% and shall not be compounded. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, the surcharges shall be computed and assessed monthly at a rate of .5% or an annual rate of 6% and shall not be compounded. All surcharges shall be deemed principal and not interest. Payments received for child support obligations shall be allocated and distributed as follows:

(A) First to current support obligations;

(B) Second to arrearages; and

(C) Third to surcharge arrears.

Virginia

Yes

6% per annum

Va. Code § 63.2-1951

The Department shall pay interest to the payee as provided in this section on certain spousal or child support payments it collects which have been ordered by a court or established by administrative order to be paid to or through the Department to the payee and for which the Department has an assignment of rights or has been given an authorization to seek or enforce a support obligation as those terms are defined in §§ 63.2-100 and 63.2-1900. Such interest shall accrue, at the legal rate as established by § 6.2-301, on all support payments collected by the Department and paid to the payee more than thirty days following the end of the month in which the payment was received by the Department in nonpublic assistance cases. Interest shall be charged to the Department on such payments if the Department has an established case and if the obligor or payor provides identifying information including the Department case number or the noncustodial parent’s name and correct social security number.

 

Va. Code § 6.2-301

A. The legal rate of interest shall be an annual rate of 6%.

Virgin Islands

No

 

 

Washington

Yes

12% on judgments

Wash. Rev. Stat. § 4.56.110

(2) All judgments for unpaid child support that have accrued under a superior court order or an order entered under the administrative procedure act shall bear interest at the rate of 12%.

West Virginia

Yes

Since Jul. 1, 2008: 5% per annum simple interest

Jul. 1, 1995, through June 30, 2008: 10% per annum simple interest

W.Va. Code § 48-1-302

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of the code, if an obligation to pay interest arises under this chapter, the rate of interest is 5% per annum and proportionate thereto for a greater or lesser sum, or for a longer or shorter time. Interest awarded shall only be simple interest and nothing in this section may be construed to permit awarding of compound interest. Interest accrues only upon the outstanding principal of such obligation.

Wisconsin

Yes

0.5% per month (6% per year)

Wis. Stat. § 767.511

(6) Interest on arrearage. Subject to sub. (6m), a party ordered to pay child support under this section shall pay simple interest at the rate of 1 percent per month on any amount in arrears that is equal to or greater than the amount of child support due in one month. Subject to sub. (6m), if the party no longer has a current obligation to pay child support, interest at the rate of 1% per month shall accrue on the total amount of child support in arrears, if any. Interest under this subsection is in lieu of interest computed under s. 807.01(4), 814.04(4), or 815.05(8) and is paid to the department or its designee under s. 767.57. Except as provided in s. 767.57(1m) and except as required under federal statutes or regulations, the department or its designee shall apply all payments received for child support as follows:

(a) First, to payment of child support due within the calendar month during which the payment is received.

(b) Second, to payment of unpaid child support due before the payment is received.

(c) Third, to payment of interest accruing on unpaid child support.

Wyoming

Yes

10% interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.

 

Wyo. Stat. 1-16-103

(a) As used in this section “judgment by operation of law” means a periodic payment or installment for child support or maintenance which is unpaid on the date due and which has become a judgment by operation of law pursuant to W.S. 14-2-204.

(b) Any judgment by operation of law which is not paid within 32 calendar days from the date the judgment by operation of law arises is subject to an automatic late payment penalty in an amount equal to 10% of the amount of the judgment by operation of law.

(c) In order to recover penalties assessed under subsection (b) of this section, the obligee shall file with the clerk of court a sworn affidavit setting forth the payment history resulting in assessment of any penalty and a computation of all penalties claimed to be due and owing. It shall not be the responsibility of the clerk to compute the amount of the penalties due and owing. If the obligor disputes the payment history or penalty computation as stated in the obligee’s sworn affidavit, the obligor shall file with the clerk of court a written request for a hearing within 10 days after seizure of his property under execution.

(d) This section shall apply only to judgments by operation of law arising on or after July 1, 1990.


Note – (*) states where interest on arrears can be assessed and charged but maybe at the discretion of the court and not automatically charged.

Sources:

  • Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, Intergovernmental Reference Guide, Questions F2 & F2.1
  • NCSL research using WestLaw

 

PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization serving state legislators and their staff. We cannot offer legal advice or assistance with individual cases.

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What Parents Need To Know About Permissive Parenting

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, November 16, 2021

What Parents Need to Know About Permissive Parenting

Permissive habits are grounded in virtuous characteristics, but they need some structure


 
Aug 27 2021, 9:35 AM

Most people would feel like they’d know a permissive parent if they saw one. According to the definition from American Psychological Association these are the moms and dads that are warm but lax. Their failure to set firm limits, monitor children’s activities closely, or require appropriately mature behavior, cultivates kids who tend to be impulsive, rebellious, aimless, domineering, and aggressive. In other words, kids that don’t respond to punishment or praise and who lack respect. 

 


But is permissive parenting so terrible? It turns out the answer is nuanced, and there are good ways to turn permissive parenting into something far more healthy for everyone. 

The Origins of Permissive Parenting

Unlike pop-culture parenting “styles” (see: helicopter, tiger, lawn mower), permissive parenting is grounded in the research of University of California at Berkeley psychologist Diana Baumrind. In her work in the 1960s, she categorized parenting into three different types: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative based on the amount of demand and care a parent shows their child.  

Authoritative parenting hits all the right notes: High expectations accompany their consideration of each child’s individual needs. Authoritarian parents demand a great deal from their kids, but don’t consider their child’s needs and often pair expectations with the threat of punishment. And permissive parents? They cater to their child’s needs (they’re highly responsive) but demand very little. 

 

Dr. Leela R. Magavi, a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, and Regional Medical Director for Community Psychiatry + MindPath Care Centers, explains that permissive parenting can reorient the parent/child relationship to look more like peer interaction. “ Children may perceive permissive parents as friends and may be more likely to confide in them,” she explains. “I have witnessed parents becoming much more permissive during the pandemic as they are afraid that their children are devoid of normalcy and will become depressed.”

It should be noted that while Baumrind’s work was grounded in academic research, her insights came almost exclusively from observations of white parents connected to Berkley. Later in her career, she would expand her studies into more diverse communities, and researchers who built on her work could continue and expand on that practice. Nevertheless, academics generally agree that her psychological styles do remain reasonably consistent in terms of outcomes.

Positive Traits of the Permissive Parent

While permissive parenting is unlikely to cultivate the most desirable traits in kids, it doesn’t mean that a permissive parent’s heart is in the wrong place. On the contrary, Magavi points out that permissive parents have some positive underlying traits. 

“Permissive parents tend to be empathetic and compassionate,” she says. “They identify their child’s emotional state and attempt to address their needs. Permissive parents tend to validate their child’s feelings and are more likely to listen to their children and address their needs actively.”

Those are traits that any parent should strive to embody, and they provide a solid foundation for permissive parents who want to add structure to their relationship with their children. Focusing on what parents do well and how those things can benefit their child can help them stay positive as they navigate the ups and downs of adapting to a new parenting style. 

“I advise parents to practice daily self-compassion and remind themselves that perfectionistic parenting could cause their children to perceive every shortcoming as a failure, which may lead to longstanding self-esteem concerns,” Magavi says.  

She also notes that parents may find it helpful to limit their time on social media to strengthen their self-compassion. “On social media, everyone looks like a perfect parent. Reframing thinking and identifying the good and bad in each individual and behavior helps decrease catastrophizing and rumination.”

How Can a Permissive Parent Add Structure to Their Parenting?

Adding the structure is a big adjustment for everyone. It can take time for a child to realize that these changes are intended to keep them safe and healthy. They may perceive more rules and structure as a raw assertion of power and respond negatively. 

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This is where the permissive parent’s strengths of empathy, compassion, and active listening come in to play. Magavi suggests utilizing opportunities for verbal support. “Providing love and support and encouraging open conversation while simultaneously maintaining house rules and safety protocols is of utmost importance,” she says. “I advise parents to create family rules and expectations and incorporate frequent validation and positive reinforcement.”

And, of course, getting on the same page with a partner or co-parent helps. Considering changes and making a coordinated effort gives a better chance for success and makes things easier on kids. “I recommend both parents share changes to rules and regulations to align their parenting, so children have some consistency and do not begin to perceive one parent as the ‘good cop’ or ‘bad cop,’” Magavi says. 

Helping Kids Adjust to Changes

A move away from permissive parenting is good in the long run, but it can be a tough adjustment for kids. They’re used to having things pretty good. So they will feel annoyed and maybe even abandoned when parents start expecting them to do something for themselves.

Magavi encourages parents to explain the benefits of following some rules and regulations. “This allows children to reframe their thinking and identify the benefits of rules. Subsequently, it is helpful to discuss family rules and the reason behind each one,” she says. “Similarly, it is important to explain the consequences of breaking the rules. Parents who were formerly permissive may find that their children are not taking them seriously, and it may take time for their children to conceptualize and follow through on rules and routines.”

The Early Childhood Interim Scholarship Program is expanding and is now open to everyone!

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, November 12, 2021

The Early Childhood Interim Scholarship Program is expanding and is now open to everyone!

 

The Delaware Department of Education/Office of Early Learning (OEL) is pleased to announce that any person wanting to pursue an early childhood credential or degree is eligible under the expansion program. This interim program is being administered by Children & Families First (CFF) and is open to all professionals seeking educational opportunities. 

 

This is an interim program and will run from November 2021 through June 2022. The scholarship program covers coursework and assessment fees for CDA candidates, and tuition and other fees for candidates attending an approved college/university. 

Candidates can apply to begin working toward any of the following:

  • Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
  • Associate Degree in early childhood education
  • Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood education 

 

For more details regarding the program, please refer to the following website for more information. https://www.cffde.org/cc-scholarships [cffde.org].

 

Complete the attached Early Childhood Scholarship Form FY22 to apply. 

 

Questions should be directed to the CFF counselors at scholarships@cffde.org or by phone at 302-734-2388.

Ensuring Noncustodial Parent, Father-Inclusive Lenses Are Applied to Decision-Making

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, October 28, 2021

ENSURING NONCUSTODIAL PARENT, FATHER-INCLUSIVE LENSES ARE APPLIED TO

DECISION-MAKING


Anchored in racial equity and informed by families’ lived experience, 2Gen approaches build upon the power of education, early care and learning, health, and employment systems to ensure equitable access

to resources and opportunities for entire family units. Policymakers and practitioners at city, county, and state levels continue to embrace the 2Gen approach, and the field is encouraged by ongoing bipartisan

commitment at the federal level. The Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act and the Pathways to Health Careers Act are two positive and concrete steps toward ensuring that prosperity passes from one

generation to the next.

But too often — at all levels — leaders fall short of ensuring that custodial and noncustodial, resident and nonresident, father-inclusive lenses are applied to their decision-making. Regardless of intent, this results in

harmful consequences that undermine the economic security, health, and well-being of children and the adults in their lives. 

We saw this at the onset of the pandemic with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act guidelines for exempting cash assistance from federal tax offsets. While offsets to pay taxes, educational loans,

and other government debts were granted exemptions to ensure cash flowed to families, the act did not exempt direct cash payments from offsets to pay child support arrears. This meant that across the country, as

many as 2.1 million noncustodial parents — most of whom are fathers — in the child support program did not receive full cash assistance because they owe child support arrears assigned not to families but to states to pay

back Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance received by families. If — as is the case in this example — the intention is to ensure that children and families have access to

resources to meet their basic needs, we must intentionally, explicitly, and consistently apply noncustodial parent, father-inclusive lenses to decision-making.


THE OPPORTUNITY

As leaders at all levels, in public and private sectors, plan and execute immediate and long-term efforts to ensure families bounce back stronger, now is the time to embed father-inclusive, noncustodial parent lenses

into platforms and processes.

Opportunities to do so include:

„ Incorporating a gender analysis into decision-making processes

„ Disaggregating data around race, gender, and parental status

„ Explicitly identifying noncustodial caregivers and fathers as target populations within family-supportive policies and programs

„ Revisiting eligibility requirements based on residential status (i.e., whether or not caregivers live in the same household as their children)

„ Training staff on implicit bias

„ Operationalizing father-friendly principles and practices


THE EXAMPLE

Strengthening Families for Success Act Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) have introduced legislation to improve federal programs designed to promote healthy co-parenting and financial stability for families with low incomes. To ensure that families receiving TANF benefits get as much of the money collected through child support payments as possible and help caregivers maintain healthy co-parenting relationships, the legislation would:

„ Modernize child support by eliminating cost recovery for TANF, Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments, and Medicaid birth costs by fiscal year 2026 while providing bridge funding to help states implement these changes.

„ Reauthorize the Healthy Marriage Promotion and Responsible Fatherhood grant program through fiscal year 2025, establish infrastructure for grantees to measure outcomes and receive technical assistance, and ensure continuity of services during a public health emergency.

„ Address the COVID-19 public health emergency’s impact on the child support program and families by providing emergency flexibility during the pandemic and exempting 2020 Economic Income Payments from the CARES Act from reduction or offset.

Download Report Below:

Ascend_Fatherhood-Lens


New Book Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, October 28, 2021

New Book Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City

"Destined to become one of the classics of the genre" (Newsweek), the riveting, unforgettable story of a girl whose indomitable spirit is tested by homelessness, poverty, and racism in an unequal America—from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrea Elliott of The New York Times. 

 

Invisible Child follows eight dramatic years in the life of a girl whose imagination is as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn shelter. Dasani was named after the bottled water that signaled Brooklyn's gentrification and the shared aspirations of a divided city. In this sweeping narrative, Elliott weaves the story of Dasani's childhood with her family's history, tracing the passage of their ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north. As Dasani comes of age, the homeless crisis in New York City has exploded amid the deepening chasm between rich and poor. 

 Dasani must guide her siblings through a city riddled by hunger, violence, drug addiction, homelessness, and the monitoring of child protection services. Out on the street, Dasani becomes a fierce fighter to protect the ones she loves. When she finally escapes city life to enroll in a boarding school, she faces an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning your family, and yourself?  

By turns heartbreaking and inspiring, Invisible Child tells an astonishing story about the power of resilience, the importance of family, and the cost of inequality. Based on nearly a decade of reporting, Invisible Child illuminates some of the most critical issues in contemporary America through the life of one remarkable girl.

BUY BOOK

NEW REPORT! CDF's The State of America's Children 2021

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, October 28, 2021

 NEW REPORT! CDF's The State of America's Children 2021

Since the Children's Defense Fund last published our annual State of America's Children report in February 2020, our children have experienced a year of unprecedented upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a racial reckoning year in the making. These shifts have impacted every aspect of children's lives more quickly than data can track; even the most recent available data sets do not fully encompass how this past year has shaped our lives. This, of course, includes our 2021 State of America's Children report. Because, as one element of the report makes clear, "Our Children are Not Immune."

 

A year marked by such dramatic change and drastic negative impact on children's lives must be followed by one of healing and restoration, coupled with bold action.  We hope this report will serve as a call-to-action to join us as we take the proactive steps necessary to fulfill our vision of a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive

 

The report includes KEY FINDINGS BY POLICY AREA 

• Child Population 

• Child Poverty 

• Income and Wealth Inequality 

• Housing and Homelessness 

• Child Hunger and Nutrition 

• Child Health 

• Early Childhood 

• Education 

• Child Welfare 

• Youth Justice 

• Gun Violence 

• Immigrant Children


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What All Dads Need to Recognize About Modern Fatherhood

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, October 27, 2021

What All Dads Need to Recognize About Modern Fatherhood

An excerpt from Fatherly's parenting book, Fatherhood, is available now for pre-order.


Oct 01 2021, 5:07 PM

 

The following is an excerpt from Fatherhood: A Comprehensive Guide to Birth, Budgeting, Finding Flow, and Becoming a Happy Parent, Fatherly’s first parenting book from Harper Horizon’s, an imprint of Harper-Collins.

Your father knew nothing. Well, next to nothing — at least, next to nothing when it came to the likely effect he would have on you or your life. At most, when you were born, he had an inkling of what his presence and participation could offer. You inherited that same inkling. You’re considering it now, an undistinguished mass like an uncut diamond. Your sense is that you can make something priceless of it, but even the first cut requires a decision you might not be ready for. After all, you don’t know the first thing about diamond cutting.


Maybe your father loved you, maybe he didn’t. Whether he was present or absent, understanding, or harsh, “good” or “bad” in your estimation, he was most likely unaware of what he held — because there was nobody to teach him to shape it.

Like others before him, he progressed through the experience of fatherhood, trying to refine the raw white stone, and trying to make it shine. Someone just needed to help him find the correct angles.

Since 1950, the U.S. government has spent roughly $600 billion on NASA programs, nearly $10 billion collecting data on mothers, and the $15 million in change it found between the couch cushions went to research related to fatherhood. But the bulk of that research has been conducted in just the last decade. Which is all to say that humanity knows more about Alpha Centauri than we know about whether your old man messed you up.

Want to know what will happen to you in the moment that your child is born? Not much. As birth releases an oxytocin flood to your wife’s brain, overwhelming her with feelings of love so profound she ugly cries into low-thread-count hospital sheets, you may very well be tempted to check the Browns score (spoiler: they’re losing). You may feel this runs counter to the favored sentimental and celebrity narrative — “The first time I saw that face, my whole world changed!” — but birth experiences are as unique and varied as the men that have them. Instant love may be the story but it’s not necessarily the norm.

So, when does Mom pass Dad the oxytocin? When she passes the baby. Men only receive the biological benefits of dad-status when they start taking care of their kids. Odd as it may sound, those initial dirty diapers become a gateway drug to care. You’ll want more. But only if you keep doing it. And it goes on like that forever; kid and Dad passing the good feelings back and forth like a joint until, if all goes well, the former delivers the latter a heartfelt eulogy. But Dad must start, because the kid’s hands are too small to roll one and because that’s the one thing that we absolutely know for sure, peer-review and all: whatever seriously good vibes are going to be, must start with you.

While your father might have known nothing, he was particularly in the dark about the things he did know — which was a lot. He was pretty much parenting all the time. And surprise, surprise, most of the time, he was probably doing fine. Roughhousing was parenting; watching television with you was parenting; talking to your mother at the dinner table was parenting. Fatherhood is only a state of being in that it’s the act of being who you are. Because the fact is that the person you are before you have a kid will not be appreciably different than the person you are after you have a kid. And that person is the template your kid will use to learn how to live in the world. So becoming a good father is about knowing yourself, and leveraging all that’s good in you towards raising someone who knows better than you. That’s love.


The Mental Health of Dads Matters

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Mental Health of Dads Matters

Why we need to include fathers in conversations about family wellbeing

By Charles Schaeffer, PhD for Psychology Today

In the last few years, we have taken a big leap in understanding and supporting maternal mental health and family well-being. But when it comes to supporting new fathers, we remain in the Dark Ages. Support for the changes and challenges new fathers face is largely absent from discussions of perinatal and postpartum health. For many men, this means the entry into fatherhood is confusing, painful, and stressful. In fact, some estimates reveal that more than 25 percent of new fathers experience depression in the first year – which is almost always undiagnosed and untreated.

Our lack of support for new dads is a glaring gap in our efforts to improve mental health in families and children. Thankfully a small, emerging group of researchers and clinicians has begun to shed light on the critical changes and challenges that happen to a man and his family when he becomes a father.

Fatherhood is a biological and emotional sea change
Becoming a parent is a major developmental milestone for both men and women. It brings a level of biological, psychological, and relationship changes not seen since puberty. And although health professionals educate many new parents about what these changes look like for a new mom, few people hear about a new father's transition. This is especially true about the biological and hormonal changes that have can have a large impact on a new dad's mood and behavior.

Starting a few months before childbirth, testosterone levels lower as prolactin, vasopressin, and other hormones increase, rewiring a man's brain to prepare him for fatherhood. Entire areas of a man's brain grow and develop in response to hormonal changes in the first year of a child's life, which equip him with crucial skills to care for a newborn. This includes an increased sensitivity to crying, a deeper capacity to bond emotionally, and a greater responsiveness to another's needs. Similar to the adaptive hormonal changes women experience, these shifts also increase a man's chances of experiencing clinical depression or mood disorders.

The psychological impact of parenting
Psychologically, men face some of the toughest developmental challenges they have ever faced as they enter fatherhood. According to Bruce Linton, PhD, founder of Father's Forum, a national organization of support groups for new fathers, the transition to fatherhood involves a series of very difficult psychological tasks. A man is required to resolve his own conflicts concerning his father, negotiate emotional uncertainty, learn to be dependent on others and let others be dependent on him, and find a community with other fathers. None of these tasks is possible without some level of support and understanding.

New fathers also face challenges and changes in the relationship with their partner that few fully anticipate. Suddenly the need to argue, negotiate, and resolve conflicts about parenting takes center stage in their relationship. At the same time, sex and relational satisfaction are not a priority. Many men who have relied on their partners for emotional support and intimacy are now left feeling guilty, resentful, and confused as they try to figure out how to support their partners while sacrificing their own support and need for intimacy.

Facing the fiscal reality of a larger family as well as their spouse's possible (if temporary) departure from the workforce, new fathers also often face a level of stress relating to their work performance and income they haven't experienced since their first job. It's no wonder that one of the biggest relationship changes men (and women) face at this time is the sheer volume of conflict in their relationship.

Involved and supported dads are good fathers
With help and attention from their spouses, fatherhood groups, and preventive mental health treatment (when necessary), new fathers who are struggling can find enhanced meaning, pride, and contentment in tending to their families while learning ways to cope with their own anxieties and doubts.

With this kind of support, fathers are immediately able to reap the emotional benefits when "the love hormone" oxytocin begins to flow through their bodies as they care for, play and interact with their children. A new sense of meaning and satisfaction also quickly arises as fathers begin to teach their children all about the world around them. The first few years are filled with powerful moments in emotional attunement where many men revisit their relationship with vulnerability and emotions as they notice how healing it can be for their children when they hold them, reassure them, and comfort them.

In places such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland where men are given extended paternity leave that is protected by law, researchers have seen big gains in men's confidence and desire to be caregivers, rather than just breadwinners and support personnel.

Involved and supported dads are good for families
Supported and involved dads benefit the whole family. National polls and census data indicate that having a genuine connection with an actively involved father may help protect children from negative life outcomes such as not completing high school or developing behavioral problems. And engaged fathers appear to benefit children in a number of cognitive skills including academic performance, problem solving skills, and intellectual ability.

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15 Ways I’m Making Sure My Son Grows Up to Be A Real Man

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, April 26, 2021

15 Ways I’m Making Sure My Son Grows Up to Be A Real Man

My truths for raising a strong, loving, compassionate, caring and empathetic dude.

Father and Son at the Beach



By Ryan Link for Fatherly

It has been more than two years since I first read the Huffington Post blog entry by Justin Ricklefs titled 15 Things all Dads of Daughters Should Know. The 15 things seem like no-brainers when you read them. But in practice, I find it difficult to feel like I am successful in all of those areas on a regular basis. So, I’ve revisited the article every month religiously (I have a monthly reminder set) in an effort to remind myself of the importance of being a positive role model for my daughter, and as a regular check on how I am doing.

While I am still working toward perfecting my role as dad to my daughter, I have been thinking more about what 15 things I should focus on in raising my son as well. After reflecting on my own childhood and the past 10 years of raising my son, I have identified 15 truths for raising a strong, loving, compassionate, caring and empathetic dude.


Teach Him the Power of Love by Telling Him “I Love You” Every Chance You Get

He wants to be loved by you just as much as any daughter. He may shrug it off during his teen years, but he wants to hear it on a regular basis. Our family started saying “I love you” regularly from the beginning (props to my incredible wife for bringing this practice from her family to ours). Now, my son and I rarely end any discussion, phone call or text exchange without those 3 powerful words. Sometimes he says it first, sometimes I do. But it is a regular reminder that our love for one another is there, regardless of the situation, and it is the norm for males to openly express that to each other.


You Are a Direct Influence on How He Acts With Other Boys and Men

He is watching, whether you know it or not. Teach him that everyone on this great planet is equal and deserving of love and respect. Be the man, friend, and partner you want him to become.


As He Grows Up, Go All-In

I did some really stupid things growing up, he will too. There is a fine line between being overbearing and letting him learn from his mistakes. Science tells us that the male brain takes longer to mature than the female brain, this is partially why teenage boys do stupid things. But we should not let this be an excuse. You can be his friend during the teen years, but that should not stand in the way of your being his dad first and foremost.


Treat His Mom Well — He Is Watching

The way you treat his mom will shape how he treats women throughout his life, including his future partner. To paraphrase Justin Ricklefs, “One of the best things you can do for your daughter [or son] is to love [their] mom well.”


Let Your Feelings and Emotions Show, and Show Him It’s Alright to Cry

This one is huge, and I say that from personal experience. I grew up in a very loving family, but somehow I came out as an adult that was not confident in showing his emotions. God bless my wife — when I met her 25 years ago I didn’t have much to say, didn’t voice my own opinions and was emotionless. To this day I wonder what she saw in me. There is still resistance by males in this world to show emotion as if it is some sign of weakness. Steer your son away from this mindset, by all means necessary.


I remember one time my son and I both cried together, initially in sorrow and then in laughter. I am embarrassed to admit that it did happen in a rather stereotypical male way (over the Baltimore Raven’s losing their playoff game in 2012 that sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl). Since then we have seen each other shed tears during movies and other emotional times. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign that we are human and we care.


Teach Him How to Stand Up for Others and What Is Right

Now more than ever it is important for him to have confidence in standing up for what is right and to know that his dad supports him. Whether it is standing up for a cause he is passionate about, a friend, his sister, or an innocent bystander. He needs to know that there are certain things that are worth fighting for.


Make As Many Memories As Possible

And they don’t have to occur in a “man cave.”


Make Sure He Knows It’s Not Always About Him

As good citizens and humans, we have the opportunity to make a difference in this world every day. But in the overall scheme of things, we are insignificant — but a speck on the universal time line. He will be remembered not for how cool he thought he was but for the type of person he truly was and how he treated others.


Show Up to His Events (He Will Remember)

To this day I don’t remember the score, opposing team or outcome of the majority of the lacrosse or soccer games I ever played growing up. But I vividly remember glancing to the sideline while I was on the playing field and seeing my dad leaning on the fence cheering me on. The first person a boy looks to for approval and acceptance is his dad — he needs to know that you are paying attention.


Be Present

I still struggle with this, I’m sure I am not the only one. Mobile phones are a daily part of our lives and jobs. Teach yourself to put them away and give him your undivided attention. Do play plenty of non-violent video games with him, but leave your phone somewhere else.


Show Him How to Clean Up Well

Teach him to wash, wear deodorant and brush his teeth properly, every day. There is something to be said for not worrying about this at a young age, but our sons need to know that this is part of being respectful and considerate to others.


Teach Him the Meaning and Importance of Beauty

It is important for him to appreciate the beauty in other people and the world around him. As dads, we need to help our sons understand that beauty is more than just looks. The sooner our sons understand this, the sooner they will shift the paradigm for the better.


Encourage Him to Be Friends With Boys and Girls

Growing up I was never friends with girls — boys were friends, girls were girlfriends. As a result, I was very awkward around girls throughout my school age years. I see this same dynamic play out with boys and girls today. Make sure your son knows how to be friends with girls from a young age and treats them the same as anyone of his boy friends. They could turn out to be the most valuable long-term friendships he has. He will thank you for it one day.


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National Child Abuse Prevention Month – 6 Tips to Help Keep Children Safe

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, April 09, 2021

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

6 Tips to Help Keep Children Safe


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Five years ago, we kicked off National Child Abuse Prevention Month with a series of child abuse prevention trainings across Delaware. We are now in 23 States doing the work that was so important to Beau.

During the past year, our lives have been turned upside down. For a child who spent the last year living and learning in a dangerous place – perhaps with their abuser, cut off from their schools and support networks – it has been a nightmare. Horrific situations like this along with the increased time children now spend online is the “perfect storm” for child predators.

It is critical that adults – parents, caretakers, families, teachers, counselors, and coaches – support and protect children emerging from a year of intense trauma.

Here are a few quick tips and resources for you to keep the children you care about safe.

  1. Ongoing and age-appropriate conversations with children and teens are key to their protection. Open and honest discussions about abuse, sexual abuse, healthy relationships, and online safety help establish and build trust. Maintaining that trust may lead a child in trouble to open up to you in the future. Just be sure to react calmly and responsibly should a child divulge their abuse or online interactions with a predator. Our free eBook – Seven Things You Don’t Know About Your Child’s Digital Life [link] – can help you get the conversation started.

FAST FACT: Most children are exposed to pornography by the time they are 11 years old.

  1. Find out what your child’s school is doing to protect children from abuse. Children have all been thrust into virtual learning environments and hybrid classes over the past year. It’s imperative that schools and youth-serving organizations that use video conferencing platforms to teach and interact with children adhere to best practices and a well-established and published Code of Conduct, specifically every organization must commit that all interactions with children be continuously observable and able to be interrupted at any time.  

The Beau Biden Foundation created an accredited workshop – Protecting Children in a Virtual Learning Environment [link] – that has helped schools across the country ensure teachers can assess a child’s safety in their online interactions with students. Ask your child’s school if they have training and policies in place that address this issue. If not – ask them to contact the Beau Biden Foundation.

DID YOU KNOW: Reports to Child Abuse Hotlines have dropped by nearly 50% while children and teachers were out of physical the classroom during COVID-19 restrictions. Why? Because teachers, counselors, and school personnel are among the number one reporters of abuse. Without seeing their students regularly, these frontline professionals could not recognize the signs of abuse and make the call to get that child the help they need.

  1. Know and check the apps children and teens are using on their digital devices. Potential harm can come from anywhere — social media and online gaming apps open doors to child predators. Knowing how children and teens spend their time on their smartphones or tablets (and with whom) is critical in keeping them safe. A list of 19 Apps Parents Need to Know is available on our site at [link] to help you navigate this ever-changing digital landscape.

DID YOU KNOW: Federal and local law enforcement agencies are working together to track down and apprehend child predators through popular social media and gaming apps. These joint efforts have led to thousands of arrests. Charges include: Luring a Minor; Attempted Child Abuse, Neglect, or Endangerment; Engaging In Solicitation for Prostitution of a Child; and Facilitating Sex Trafficking. These criminals range in age from early 20s to late 60s. 

  1. Know the acronyms children and teens are using in their chats  predators are using them, too. Learning and recognizing some of these critical codes and acronyms can save a child from a predator. You’re probably familiar with “LOL” (Laugh Out Loud) or “SMH” (Shake My Head), but there are many more acronyms that predators use to chat with children and teens to “KPC” (Keep Parents Clueless) when they “WTTP.” Read our blog – 30 Acronyms Parents Need to Know – to help familiarize yourself with these terms: https://www.beaubidenfoundation.org/blog/30acronyms/.
  2. Know the signs of grooming. Be on the lookout for requests for images, videos, personal information from a child, or to connect in a private chat. These requests, even seemingly innocent ones, could be a predator testing a child. Other questions to keep in mind are: Is the child often making a deal or exchange for game tokens/currency? Is the child being lured into a private chat? Are they keeping secrets or say they have a “special friendship” with someone new online? Does the child suddenly have new items like clothing, jewelry, or a phone that you did not buy for them? Our free eBook – Online Predators: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Child Today [link] – can help you recognize the signs of grooming and offers more advice on how to combat online predators.

FAST FACT: There are at least 500,000 child predators online each day. One in 5 children reports being solicited or contacted by a predator in the last year. 

  1. What to do if your child has already sent an explicit photo or fallen victim to an online predator or cyberbully? Call the CyberTipline: 1-800-THE-LOST. If the child is being cyberbullied, or if there’s an immediate threat or risk of harm – call 911, otherwise seek the assistance of the school counselor, make a report on the platform being used, and preserve any evidence (i.e. screenshot, save chat). If your child is being solicited to send personal information, help them to say ‘no’ and move on, and report the other user(s) involved. If the child has received a request for explicit photos or videos, report to law enforcement. As always, if you have reasonable suspicion of abuse, please click here to find the child abuse reporting line in your area and make the call.
As we often say, the keys to protecting children from abuse, both off and online, are not complicated. Adults need to continue talking to our children.  The tips above are a start in the conversations and one way to ensure children can grow up safe in a world free from abuse.

About DFFC

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition is an extension of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative created specifically to give a voice to fathers and the importance of their involvement for the well-being of their children.


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