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Child Support Awards: Mothers and Fathers Compared, 1999

Income tax refunds can be withheld. Joining the armed forces to avoid support is no longer an avenue of escape either, because federal wages can be garnished. In 1992, Congress passed the Child Support Recovery Act, making it a federal crime for parents who are able to pay to avoid child support due their children living in another state. A 1998 amendment-the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act-extended its reach and increased available penalties, which now include fines and jail time.13 The act also authorizes funds to help states enforce their own criminal laws relating to support.