WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today applauded Senate passage of their Providing Adequate Resources to Enhance Needed Time with Sons and Daughters (PARENTS) Act, which will ensure children of separated or divorced parents have a set schedule that will allow them to spend frequent quality time with both of their parents. The bill would allow states to use federal child support incentive funds to create a parenting time agreement upon the establishment of child support orders.

“It’s important for children of divorced parents to have a set visitation schedule, which will provide them with the stability they need for an easier and smoother transition,” said Sen. Menendez. “The PARENTS Act will allow states to automatically create a parenting time agreement by cutting the bureaucratic red tape. I urge the House to pass this bill swiftly.”
“The Child Support Enforcement Program helps provide necessary resources to those raising children, but we need to remove bureaucratic barriers making it difficult for willing parents to spend more time with their kids,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation will help children receive the financial support they need while rewarding parents who spend quality time with their child, and I am grateful to my colleagues for recognizing the urgent need for this legislation during the pandemic.”

Research shows that children benefit from spending time with both parents after a divorce or separation, but according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), nearly seven of ten parents involved with the public child support program do not have an official parenting time agreement.

Currently, states wishing to use child support incentive funds to create a parenting time agreement must apply for a waiver from HHS. Since HHS has yet to deny any of these waiver requests, it has become an unnecessary and cost-consuming burden for states. The PARENTS Act would eliminate the need for a waiver, freeing up resources and yielding administrative savings for states. 

The bill is supported by the National Child Support Enforcement Association and the National Association of Counties.