Enforcing Absent Parents Support Obligations

In 1974, Congress enacted what is known as title IV-D of the Social Security Act, specifically "for the purpose of enforcing the support obligations owed by absent parents to their children and the spouse (or former spouse) with whom such children are living." (42 U.S.C. former 651; see generally 42 U.S.C. 651-669b.) "The idea behind title IV-D, quite plainly, was to recoup welfare costs from the absent parents of children being given public assistance." ( Clark v. Superior Court (1998) 62 Cal. App. 4th 576, 579 [73 Cal. Rptr. 2d 53].) To this end, title IV-D imposes a series of obligations on the states, including the requirement that the state provide services related to the enforcement of child support obligations. (42 U.S.C. 654 (4)(A) ["the State will-- provide services relating to . . . the establishment, modification or enforcement of child support obligations"].) In response, our state Legislature enacted a series of statutes designed to ensure that California complies with its title IV-D obligations. (See former 11350, 11350.1, 11475.1, 11478.2; Fam. Code, 4002 et seq.) In 1999, the Legislature enacted a new statutory scheme that created a new Department of Child Support Services within the California Health and Human Services Agency to perform all of the functions necessary to establish, collect, and distribute child support (Fam. Code, 17200 et seq. (Stats. 1999, ch. 478, 1)), and repealed sections 11350, 11350.1, 11475.1, and 11478.2, replacing them with Family Code sections 17402, 17404, 17400, and 17406, respectively. (Stats. 1999, ch. 478, 1 as amended by Stats. 1999, ch. 480, 13, 14, 15, Stats. 1999, ch. 980, 14.2 and Stats. 1999, ch. 653, 15.)