North Dakota has a record of being one of the states with the highest child support payment rate, meaning separated parents are providing for their kids, and on time.

The Director of Child Support at DHS says the percent of child support paid was slowly declining over the last couple years, to about 72 percent.

But last year, North Dakota was back up to over 75 percent, which he says, is very high compared to national rates.

One of the biggest changes happened during the last legislative session. Lawmakers agreed while a parent is in jail, they no longer will accrue amounts of child support they cannot pay.

The parent remaining with the kids, is then eligible for governmental support, including food stamps.

The Director of the Child Support Division Jim Fleming explains, “Parents can only support kids to the extent that they have earnings or are able to earn money. We could accrue them at several thousand dollars of child support every month, and we wouldn’t collect any more. They would just be further and further behind, and so in the case of inmates, when they get out of jail: if they’re behind on child support by several thousand dollars, they’re going to have a really hard time becoming a productive member of society again.”

Fleming says a lot of it also has to do with our state being rural. Here, parents have one-on-one access to DHS support as needed, rather than lining up behind thousands of others.