In determining child support obligations, courts generally hold that each parent should contribute in accordance with his or her means. Child support is a mutual duty, although the primary caretaker of preschool children may not be required to obtain employment. All states have enacted some form of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act. URESA is a uniform law designed to facilitate the interstate enforcement of support obligations. URESA allows an individual who is due alimony or child support from someone who lives in a different state to bring action for receipt of the payments in the home state. This measure circumvents such problems as expense and inconvenience inherent in traveling from one state to another in pursuit of support.
In response to federal legislation, state laws regarding child support payments have become more severe. State laws can require employers to withhold child support from the paychecks of parents who are delinquent for one month. Employers are to be held responsible if they do not comply fully. State laws must provide for the imposition of liens against the property of those who owe support. Unpaid support must be deducted from federal and state income tax refunds. Expedited hearings are required in support cases.