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Government agency releases new child support statistics

The Congressional Research Service recently released new statistics outlining the current state of child support payments in America. The CRS is a nonpartisan organization that serves only the U.S.Congress, providing our nation's lawmakers with the information they need to shape our country's laws. The new report, then, is a snapshot of the state of the nation's child support system.

All the data comes from 2011, which is the most recent year for which data was available. The statistics show that there are over 14 million parents who do not live together. Half of these parents are noncustodial parents, who pay child support, and half are custodial parents, who receive support payments on behalf of the child.

Unfortunately, statistics show that many of these custodial parents are having difficulty receiving the full amount that they are owed. In 2011, over $23 billion was sent as child support. This is, however, only a portion of the full amount that is owed. The CRS report shows that less than 40 percent of custodial parents received the full amount that they were owed.

The other households were forced to make due with less. This may contribute to the large number of single-parent households that are living below the poverty line. The report puts this demographic at almost 30 percent of all single-parent households. Nearly 40 percent of all households receive some sort of government assistance.

When a noncustodial parent fails to pay his or her child support payments, he or she is breaking the agreement that was signed at the time of the separation or a court order. Custodial parents have various methods at their disposal to help force the nonpaying parent to meet their obligations, however. One common method is to simply garnish the parent's wages, which will ensure that the proper amount is sent along each month. An attorney can advise custodial parents on the best ways to proceed if they feel the other parent is intentionally withholding payments.


Source: 
New York Daily News, "Who Exactly Gets Child Support? Beyond the Myths" James Warren, Jan. 06, 2014

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