Parents Finding It Harder to Get Full Child Support Payments

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- As if being a single parent isn’t hard enough, a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau paints a grim picture of child support in this country. The report found that just 41.2% of custodial parents received the full amount of child support owed to them in 2009, down from 46.8% in 2007. In all, $35.1 billion in child support was owed in 2009, and only 61% of that total was received.

The economic repercussions on the custodial parent and their children appear to be severe.

“Child support income is especially important to families in poverty, and the report shows that increasingly, custodial parents find themselves below the poverty level,” said report author Timothy Grall, a survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Program Participation and Income Transfers Branch.

According to the report, 28.3% of all custodial parents had incomes below poverty levels in 2009, up from 23.4% in 2001.

What’s also interesting is that about half (50.6%) of custodial parents had a court order or some type of agreement to receive financial support from the noncustodial parent. The majority (90.9%) of these agreements were legal, while 9.1% were informal agreements or understandings.

The report, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, focuses on the child support income that the nation’s 13.7 million custodial parents reported receiving from noncustodial parents living elsewhere and other types of support, such as health insurance and noncash assistance. These custodial parents had custody of 22 million children under age 21 while the other parent lived somewhere else, and 82.2% of custodial parents were mothers.

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