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Child support a significant part of many family incomes

Parents in Minnesota who are divorcing and will receive child support join millions of other families in the United States who depend on those payments. Based on a 2014 survey, the U.S. Census Bureau found that around 25 percent of children under the age of 21 lived with one parent, and more than 80 percent of those parents were the mother.

Only about half of those families had child support agreements, and of those families, less than half received the full amount. However, more than 60 percent of custodial parents received items such as diapers, gifts, clothes and food from the other parent. Custodial parents received an average of $330 per month in child support although the average amount due was almost $500. Slightly less than a third of the child support that was due was not paid.

Child support was a significant source of income for poorer families. For parents who were paid all the support they were owed and who had incomes below the poverty level, child support was around 70 percent of their total income.

A divorce can leave both parents more financially unstable. While some parents might supplement their partial payments with items such as diapers and food, a parent with a child support agreement is still obligated to pay that amount unless there is a court order that says otherwise. A custodial parent who is struggling to get child support may want to speak to an attorney about their options for collecting delinquent payment. In some cases, a parent might have a change in circumstances that makes it difficult for them to continue fulfilling their obligations such as a job loss. However, that parent still needs to go through the court system to have the child support reduced rather than simply not paying.

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