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Census sheds lights on late child support payments

The most recent data available from the Census Bureau shows how many parents did not receive the child they were owed in 2011. The data indicated that unpaid child support amounted to $14.3 billion in 2011, and the census collected information about the age, race and gender of parents who were supposed to be receiving child support. It appears that women in Arizona and around the country are less likely to pay their child support obligations than men.

According to the data that was studied, 25 percent of mothers with physical custody in 2011 did not receive the child support they were owed compared to 32 percent of fathers who were the custodial parents. However, it is important to note that mothers are more likely to receive child support than fathers and that mothers have physical custody far more often than fathers.. The Census Bureau did not collect information about why a parent was not receiving child support payments.

Typically, fathers pursue child maintenance orders less often than mothers because custodial fathers have an average household income approximately twice as high as that of custodial mothers. These fathers are also around 50 percent less likely to be living in poverty.

As part of a divorce settlement, one parent might be ordered to pay alimony or child support to the other. Child support orders usually last until the child turns 18, but the paying parent cannot suddenly stop making the required payments. If a parent stops paying child support, the custodial parent can seek court assistance to enforce the obligation. Conversely, a parent who has trouble paying child support due to an adverse change in financial circumstances should petition the court for a modification.

Source: NPR, "Who Fails To Pay Child Support? Moms, At A Higher Rate Than Dads", 03/01/2015

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