Is Child Support Really Being Paid?

25673-child support balHere is a depressing statistic - 80% of all custodial parents do not receive all of the child support owed to them.

According to a Congressional study, only 2.7 million (19%) of the 14.4 million custodial parents eligible for child support are paid all of the child support to which they are entitled.

In New York, basic child support is paid to provide food, clothing and shelter for children. Additional child support is ordered to cover medical educational and child care expenses.

Failing to pay child support unfairly shifts the burden of raising and caring for children on the custodial parent.

I  find this report to be surprising.   At a minimum, it is misleading. Certainly there are a lot of dead beat parents- parents who will never pay child support. There are even some extreme dead-beats who go so far as to quit good jobs and “disappear” to just avoid paying for their children.

Most parents, particularly those engaged with their children pay support.

For most causal failures to pay pay support, there are enforcement measures. Wages can be garnished. In New York, driver’s and professional licenses suspended. Tax refunds can be intercepted. In extreme cases, the failure to pay support can be enforced by incarceration for contempt of court. These measures work. Because of the child support devises, even dead beats are compelled to pay their support obligations.

I am sure this report's findings are skewed by bona fide disputes over what is owed. While basic child support is fixed, some is paid to reimburse the custodial parent for add on expenses. These add-on expenses, like unreimbursed medical and child care expenses, are some of the most litigated issues in a divorce as parents constantly fight over the legitimacy and appropriateness of the expenses.

Ask any custodial parent if the other parent owes money for some out of pocket expense, I am sure the answer is yes. I am willing to further bet that most will say the other parent is current with his/her basic support obligation.






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