House panel hears proposed changes to child support law
By John McPhaul
The House Legal Committee, chaired by the Rep. Orlando Aponte Rosario, addressed in a public hearing Wednesday a measure that proposes to establish that no payments in a child support case will exceed 40% of the subject’s net income.
House Bill (HB) 1153 intends to amend the formula used by the Child Support Administration (ASUME by its Spanish acronym), to establish a fixed amount to be paid in harmony with the economic reality of the noncustodial parent.
Family Secretary Carmen Ana Gonzalez Magaz objected to the measure.
Although the objective of the measure is laudable, she said, “it is contradictory and excessively restrictive for the agency to be able to establish reasonable and equitable payments to the reality of the minor.”
“To establish child support, which is an extremely important element for development and subsistence, it can’t be converted into an arithmetic exercise,” she said.
But Aponte Rosario said it has been seen over the years that there have been countless abuses of people who pay child support.
“This legislation seeks to address those cases where there are noncustodial parents who must pay between $1,000 and $1,500 [per month], and have to meet all their needs for housing, food, water and electricity with approximately $600 dollars,” the legislator said. “That is not enough to live in a dignified way, without a doubt, These injustices must be addressed at the same time that the State guarantees the well being of minors.”
According to HB 1153, although the ASUME Charter Law states that those who must pay child support can do so within their means, in many cases the assigned payment level exceeds the ability of the subject to pay, Aponte Rosario said.