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Less than half of parents receive all child support owed

Pennsylvania parents know that child support agreements are one of the most important parts of a divorce settlement. However, according to the latest federal statistics, less than half of single parents receive all the child support payments they are owed.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are approximately 13.4 million custodial single parents in the U.S., and 48.7 percent of them have legal or informal child support agreements with the noncustodial parent. Of those child support agreements, 89.8 percent were formally arranged through the courts or a Title IV-D agency. Just over 10 percent of the agreements were informally negotiated between the parents. Meanwhile, 22.4 percent of custodial parents filed for some sort of government assistance while receiving child support payments.

Statistics show that parents owed $32.9 billion in child support in 2013, with the average noncustodial parent owing $5,774 per year, which comes to less than $500 per month. However, only 68.5 percent of the money owed was actually paid, with custodial parents receiving an average of just $3,950 per year, which is around $329 per month. Overall, just 45.6 percent of custodial single parents were paid the entire amount of child support they were owed. Meanwhile, 28.5 percent of them received some of the payments they were owed, and nearly 26 percent received none of the payments they were owed.

Parents facing the end of their marriage may want to contact a divorce attorney for advice. An attorney could review the case and negotiate a child support agreement that is in the best interests of the child. If a custodial parent is having difficulty collecting child support payments, an attorney could also explain the collection methods available and work to get the money that is owed.

Source: Very Well Family, "U.S. Child Support Statistics", Jennifer Wolf, May 7, 2018

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