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Ellman article on child support guidelines published in 'Arizona Law Review'


May 11, 2012

An article by Ira Mark Ellman, a Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar at the College of Law, titled, “A Case Study in Failed Law Reform: Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines,” has been published in the current issue of the Arizona Law Review.

The article tells the story of a failed effort to reform Arizona’s child support guidelines. Federal law requires states to have rules that specify the precise dollar amount of the child support award a judge must allow in any case, although the  judge can “deviate” from the formulaic “guidelines”  in a limited number of cases. .

In Arizona, as in about half the states, the state supreme court creates the guidelines. Concerns over the method by which previous guidelines were constructed, and the fairness of  the child support amounts they called for, led a committee appointed by the  Arizona Supreme Court to recommend an alternative. That recommendation was initially approved by the Arizona Judicial Council, normally the final step leading to formal adoption.  Yet the recommended guidelines were never adopted, largely because of legislative opposition. Ellman’s article examines the reasons the reform effort collapsed at the 11th hour.

The Arizona Law Review is a publication of The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. To read the full article, click here.

Ellman is a faculty fellow in the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation and an affiliate professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. He also is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Child and Youth Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Ellman’s current scholarly projects include an empirical investigation into how people make judgments about appropriate legal rules, and he has recently been awarded a large grant from an English foundation to extend that work to the United Kingdom.