Perceived Fairness and Compliance with Child Support Obligations
This paper examines how the perceptions of nonresident fathers about the fairness of their child support orders affect their compliance with these orders. In particular, the study asks whether routine income withholding affects compliance in the absence of perceived fairness. The analytic sample includes 392 nonresident fathers who filed for divorce between 1986 and 1988 in the state of Wisconsin. Using the reports made by these fathers along with court records as an independent measure of their subsequent compliance with child support obligations over a 24-month period, the author concludes that fathers’ perceptions of fairness increase their compliance with support orders. Moreover, routine income withholding has a greater effect on compliant behavior when fathers think their child support agreements are unfair than when they think their agreements are fair.
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