Who Is at Risk for Contempt of Court for Child Support Noncompliance?

Danielle Cummings
June 2020

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement funded the Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) demonstration grant to study the effect of applying procedural justice principles to child support cases. Specifically, the grant studied NCPs with the ability to pay but were about to be referred for contempt due to nonpayment. This report analyzes the data received to identify characteristics of NCPs in the PJAC sample and what the case managers believe led the NCPs to the point of contempt. The data showed some common demographic and case characteristics. For example, the NCPs in the study often had more than one case and the average primary case was about nine years old at the start of the study. The data also showed that the most common reasons that the NCPs weren’t paying included: a lack of steady employment, an unwillingness to pay, and a lack of understanding about an aspect of the child support program.