Concord, NH – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) announces the latest review of New Hampshire’s Child Support Guidelines. The University System of New Hampshire (UNH) conducted the review as part of a contract with DCSS. State and federal law requires the Department to conduct a review of Child Support Guidelines every four years.
Policy analysts and researchers from the UNH Cooperative Extension, UNH Department of Family Studies, and the Whittemore School of Business and Economics have spent the last year conducting the comprehensive review of the NH Guidelines. Public forums were held in Manchester, Keene, Portsmouth and Littleton and input was also solicited from child support obligors, obligees, and other interested parties. Information was also gathered from key stakeholders including: the NH Bar Association, the Children and Family Law Committee of the NH legislature, the NH Commission on the Status of Men, the NH Commission on the Status of Women, court obligor advocates and child and family advocates.
“We are very pleased to present this study to the NH legislature,” stated DCSS Director Mary Weatherill. “Not only because it meets federal and State requirements, but more importantly because it provides an unbiased, reliable economic analysis for the benefit of NH families.”
“One of the strengths of this process has been the well-rounded approach taken by the review team,” said Project Leader and UNH Cooperative Extension’s Family Life and Policy Specialist Dr. Malcolm Smith. “Even though the current guidelines have been working fairly well for many people, with the rapidly changing economic climate and measurable changes in the patterns of parents involved in child support, it is time to revisit the guidelines.”
“The most important feature of our evaluation,” stated Dr. Reagan Baughman, Economist from the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics, “was that we listened carefully to all parties affected by child support and developed recommendations that balanced the concerns of payors, payees and their children.”
According to Dr. Michael Kalinowski of the UNH Department of Family Studies, “This final report makes several recommendations, each of which we believe will provide some improvement to the child support formula and practice, and which together form a balanced and integrated package.”
DCSS is responsible for the establishment and enforcement of child support cases upon application for child support services. The UNH Guidelines Review and Recommendations report can be found on the Department's website