Many Fathers Who Do Not Pay Support Contribute In Other Ways

Parents in California may be relieved to find out that a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family shows that many noncustodial fathers who do not make their court-ordered child support payments still make substantial contributions to the care and support of their children in other ways. The study suggests that dads who do not pay are not always as “deadbeat” as they appear.

Census data shows that in 2011, approximately the same amount of noncustodial mothers and noncustodial fathers paid their full amount of child support payments. Unfortunately, many sociologists say that the existing child support system often leads the custodial mothers to deny the noncustodial fathers access to their children until they make the payments.

The study examined 367 low-income, noncustodial fathers in three cities and found that while just 23 percent paid child support via the system, 28 percent gave the mothers cash directly, and 46 percent contributed an average of $60 a month worth of in-kind support such as food, baby products, clothes and school expenses.

Only 66 of the fathers gave no cash to the mothers of their total 95 children, but they contributed $63 of in-kind support every month per child. In regard to being denied access to their children, the study concluded that fathers who do not see their children contribute only about 50 percent of the in-kind support than fathers who see their children a minimum of 10 hours a month contribute.

Child support is one of the primary matters that is determined when parents go through a divorce, but each parent’s or child’s living situation could change after the order has been issued. Noncustodial parents who are having trouble paying their child support obligations due to an unexpected financial downturn could talk to their family law attorneys about getting their orders modified.