Methods: This paper shares findings from in-depth qualitative interviews with 120 custodial and noncustodial parents in the PJAC demonstration, include both parents in the study’s control group, for whom contempt was filed, and parents in the program group, who instead had access to PJAC services. Interview topics included parents’ backgrounds; general beliefs about the child support system at large; individual experiences with child support from case establishment; payment status (and, among noncustodial parents, reasons for nonpayment); receipt of PJAC services (among program group parents); experiences with any child support services received (for example, order modifications), enforcement actions taken (for example, license suspensions), or contempt proceedings; perceptions of child support staff members’ use of procedural justice; and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives and their interactions with the child support program.
Results: These interviews give voice to parents whose perspectives are seldom heard outside of civil contempt proceedings. They offer insight into parents’ perspectives on their interactions with the child support program in their own words, including how those receiving PJAC services experienced procedural justice-informed approaches.
Conclusions and Implications: By listening to what these parents shared about their lived experiences with the child support program, we can learn about the challenges noncustodial parents face in trying to meet their child support obligations, the struggles custodial parents face in caring for their children day-to-day, and how the child support program might leverage procedural justice approaches to better support parents and promote family wellbeing.