Child Support Owed: $100 Billion

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Support on Tuesday, November 6, 2012

For divorced parents, disputes with their former spouses can extend years beyond the end of their marriage. Arguments over schools, their child’s friends, extracurricular activities, bedtime, discipline and more can add stress to already strained relationships.

One of the most frequent sources of friction between divorced parents is child support, with unpaid support being near the very top of the list.

According to the federal government’s Office of Child Support Enforcement, more than $100 billion is currently owed in child support by people in St. Louis and across the nation.

The office said nearly half of that amount is owed to taxpayers who foot the bill for children receiving public assistance.

In all, approximately $108 billion was owed to custodial parents in 2009. When that support isn’t provided, and the children require public assistance, that assistance is supposed to be repaid to the government by the parent who missed making the support payments.

A spokesperson for the National Women’s Law Center said about 49 percent of the $108 billion owed is to be paid to the government (that works out to $53 billion).

It’s not enough to pay off the national debt, but it is nonetheless an impressive pile of IOUs.

Of course, the government will likely survive without its child support reimbursements, but custodial parents and their kids have a much more difficult time of it.

The Women’s Law Center says that for mothers in poverty, child support payments typically represent 45 percent of their income. The center says the missing payments are one of the major reasons 41 percent of households headed by single women are below the poverty line.

It’s critical for both parents to be involved in the lives of their children. Child support is simply one of the many important duties parents must shoulder.

An experienced family law attorney can help a parent do what’s right for their child and help to make sure custody and support agreements are fair.

Source: CNN, “Deadbeat parents cost taxpayers $53 billion,” Nov. 5, 2012

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