Child Support Payments Are Critical For Many Custodial Parents

Many custodial parents in California rely on child support payments to cover the considerable expenses of raising their children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has placed the cost of providing for a child until adulthood at nearly $250,000. Despite the costs, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support report found that only about half of custodial parents have a financial agreement or court order that directs the noncustodial parent to provide money.

Among the 5.7 million custodial parent families in 2013 that were owed child support agreements, only 45.6 percent of them collected the payments they were supposed to receive. The average amount of support supplied by a noncustodial parent totaled about $330 a month. If all the money legally due to custodial parents had been provided, then the monthly average would have equaled $480.

Women comprise the majority of custodial parents relying on support payments. Out of 13.4 million custodial parents in 2014, 82.5 percent of them were mothers. In 2014, 22.1 million children below age 21 lived in households that only had one of their parents residing in it. Child support represents a large portion of income for custodial parents living below the poverty line. In 2014 when they receive all payments due to them, the support accounted for 70.3 percent of their average income.

A person experiencing financial pressure because of missed child support payments could contact an attorney for help in tracking down a noncustodial parent, even one that is out of state. Communications between family court systems in different states could be handled by an attorney who could petition the appropriate court for a wage garnishment where applicable.