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Changes in Placement after Divorce and Implications for Child Support Policy

In earlier research using Wisconsin Court Record Data (CRD), we have shown that the proportion of divorcing parents sharing physical placement of their children increased dramatically, from one out of every eight cases filed in 1989, to one out of every two cases filed in 2010. However, no national research exists, so it is unclear whether this trend is also occurring in other states. The rise in shared placement has implications for child support, since some research has shown that shared-placement cases are less likely to have child support orders. The relationship between placement and payments is unknown and theoretically ambiguous: among those who owe support, those with shared placement may feel they are already doing “their share,” making payments less likely. On the other hand, shared placement may be the result of (or the cause of) a high level of commitment, so could be related to a higher likelihood of payments. This report examines national trends in placement and the relationship between placement and child support outcomes.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Custody & Placement, Orders & Payments