A recently released government report shows that many parents who win child custody don’t receive the child support they are owed. The report, released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes data from child custody cases in Georgia and other Southeastern states.
Analysts compared child support statistics for 2007 and 2009. In 2007, custodial parents received 46.8 percent of the child support that was owed by non-custodial parents. In 2009, custodial parents received just 41.2 percent of the $35.1 billion in child support they were owed. Most parents received about $300 per month. More than 90 percent had a formal child support agreement or court order in place, while 9.1 percent received support based on an informal arrangement.
Many of the households that did not receive full child support are those that need it the most. More than 28 percent of custodial parents had annual incomes below the poverty level, and the parents who headed these households were twice as likely to be poor. For the parents living below the poverty level who received full child support in 2009, support payments comprised 62 percent of their average income. Child support makes up just 20 percent of the average income of parents living above the poverty level.
The report also found that more than half of custodial parents in the U.S. receive noncash support in the form of birthday and holiday gifts, clothes and groceries. These contributions came most often from noncustodial mothers — 70 percent, compared with similar contributions from only 58 percent of noncustodial fathers.
Source: PR Newswire, “Custodial parents becoming less likely to receive full amount of child support, Census Bureau reports” Dec. 7, 2011