The Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies


Section 1.10: Child Support (Advanced Maintenance)

The Benefit. Cash support of a child by a non-custodial parent. In some countries there are public guarantees of a specific level of payment, variously known as "Advanced Maintenance" or " Child Support Assurance." The payment may be made by a government agency and then collected from the parent.

Purpose: To assure children of the financial support of their biological parents, whether or not they are living together; to protect such children who are likely to be particularly disadvantaged economically when living with a lone mother.

History: In instances of parental separation, divorce, desertion, or non-residence in the same household at any time, a non-custodial parent might voluntarily provide financial support for his/her child. In more recent years, public authorities may mandate a level of regular contributions to child support by the non-custodial parent. In some countries, administrative agencies or courts assist in collection if the non-custodial parent does not pay the support or pays irregularly or inadequately and may impose various sanctions upon non-payment. These programs are usually coordinated with paternity identification programs.

Benefit Level and Duration: The benefit level and duration vary significantly across countries and often vary within countries as well. A current trend is to set support as a portion of the non-custodial parent's income.

Country Profiles

Because no international bodies regularly report standardized child support information, we are here limited to eight country sketches from a U.K. study.

1.101 Australia 1.102 Austria 1.103 France 1.104 Germany
1.105 Netherlands 1.106 Norway 1.107 Sweden 1.108 United States

Table 1.109 Availability of Advanced Maintenance Programs in Select Countries

See country specific profiles under the Countries section for description of child support systems in other countries.


Helen Barnes, Patricia Day, and Natalie Cronin, Trial and Error: A Review of U.K. Child Support Policy (London: Family Policy Studies Policy, Occasional Paper No.24, 1998), "Ch.4, Overseas Experiences of Child Support Policy," pp. 35-63.

See the article by Jonathan Bradshaw and Christine Skinner entitled "Child support: The British fiasco" in the Spring 2000 issue of Focus at the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Alfred J. Kahn and Sheila B. Kamerman, eds., Child Support: From Debt Collection to Social Policy (Newbury Park, CA., 1998).

James Kunz, Patrick Villeneuve, Irwin Garfinkel, "Child Support Among Selected OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis," in Koen Vlemincx and Timothy Sneeding, Child Well-Being, Child Poverty, and Child Policy in Modern Nations (Bristol, Eng.: Policy Press, 2000, forthcoming).


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Last updated November 2004

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