Two Direct Rights of Action in Child Support Enforcement

29 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2012 Last revised: 1 Mar 2014

See all articles by Margaret Ryznar

Margaret Ryznar

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: October 15, 2012


Child support enforcement and collection is a familiar problem in both the United Kingdom and the United States, fraught with low enforcement rates and high costs. The United Kingdom had approached the problem by centralizing collection efforts through the Child Support Agency and prohibiting direct action by custodial parents against defaulting noncustodial parents, but permitting judicial review of the Child Support Agency’s actions. The United States, meanwhile, continues to permit direct actions by custodial parents, unless they are on welfare, and supports their efforts through governmental agencies, but does not allow for suit against the relevant government agency. This Article is the first to comparatively consider the merits and drawbacks of each use of the judiciary in child support collection, seeking to maximize child support enforcement in both countries while considering the rights of both parents and their children. The resulting insights are especially useful for the United Kingdom child support system, which is currently being reincarnated in its third form since 1991, illustrating the difficulty of designing an effective and efficient child support system.

Keywords: family law, domestic relations, comparative law, international law, comparative family law, child support, child support enforcement, child support collection, England, Child Support Agency, custodial parent, financial support, divorce

Suggested Citation

Ryznar, Margaret, Two Direct Rights of Action in Child Support Enforcement (October 15, 2012). Catholic University Law Review, vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 1007-1034, 2013. Available at SSRN:

Margaret Ryznar (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

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