Based on data from a 2017 report to Congress, parents paid more than $32 billion in child support through the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in fiscal 2015. In spite of this very large number, a significant number of parents are not receiving the payments they are owed. Payments may be late or never come at all.
When people do not make the child support payments that they are obligated to, it can make things difficult for the parent who is raising the child and the child as well. In addition to the fact that children may suffer if they are not provided with food and clothing, lower academic outcomes are associated with children who have parents who aren’t making child support payments.
This may be as a result of the fact that parents who don’t make payments tend to be less involved with their children’s lives. Researchers, using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, found that fathers who paid child support regularly spent, on average, three days more a month with their children than those who did not. They were also more likely to help with homework and reading than nonpaying parents.
When people are ordered to pay child support, the amount is set by the court and is based on a number of factors. If their situation changes, they may be able to request a child support modification that could allow them to reduce the amount they are required to pay. An attorney can often be helpful in preparing the required motion and arguing on the client’s behalf in court.