A new study suggests those who are behind in child support see their children less often, work fewer weeks per year and are more likely to have children with multiple partners. In fiscal yearU. When the parent sending child support falls behind on payments, there are consequences, including civil and criminal penalties. For example, a study published in the journal Demography indicates that child support is linked to higher academic achievement.
By Kathryn Edin Government efforts to engage noncustodial fathers in supporting their children should take advantage of the reality that these dads care more about their offspring than is commonly assumed.
Parents are often unmarried when their children are born. Along the way, both parents often have children with other partners, leading to complex families.
We limited our analysis to children born to unmarried parents, since most children of disadvantaged parents are now born outside of a marital bond. The results were stunning.
Issues of Concern for Single, Custodial Fathers The largest concern expressed by single fathers is over childcare, as it is with most working parents. Childcare concerns are most stressful for single fathers with children between the ages of 5 and A large body of literature documents the importance of child support for children’s wellbeing, though little is known about the child support behaviors of mixed-status families, a large and rapidly growing population in the United States. In , America’s custodial fathers were owed a total of $ billion and custodial mothers were owed $ billion (keep in mind, moms who are owed child support outnumber dads almost 9 to 1).
These levels of instability and complexity are unprecedented in US history. Moreover, the United States is unique among rich nations in this regard. And the trends are concentrated among the disadvantaged.
In fact, whereas nonmarital childbearing has risen dramatically among non-college-educated women, it continues to be relatively rare among those with college degrees, for whom divorce rates have been falling since the s. In sum, whereas the family lives of those at the bottom of the educational distribution grow ever more unstable, the opposite trend characterizes those with a college degree.
Although instability and complexity may be, in part, a consequence of inequality, complex families are also a cause of the diverging destinies of US children by socioeconomic status. During the s, the Bush administration labeled these trends a crisis and launched a campaign to promote marriage.
It funded public information campaigns and launched randomized controlled trials of a variety of interventions aimed at improving the relationship skills of unmarried couples who were expecting a baby or had just given birth.
The most successful of these programs did have some impact on instability. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that such efforts alone will turn these trends around.
Given the reality that many children are now born into unstable and complex families, the challenge is to ensure that they nonetheless can thrive. Yet—at least implicitly—the current system is built on the widely shared assumption that these absent fathers feel no responsibility for their offspring and must therefore be forced to provide.
But this assumption could be wrong, and if it is, then this heavy-handed approach to enforcing paternal responsibility could be blinding us to other approaches to engaging fathers in financially and emotionally supporting their children.
Though far from perfect, it has enormous reach. Its caseload covered one in five US children inand fully half of all poor children are served by the program. For those custodial parents below poverty who were paid the full amount owed, child support accounted for over two-thirds By contrast, during this period the child support system has become more adept at collecting payments from noncustodial parents with an order.
It behooves us, therefore, to explore how an evolving understanding of noncustodial fathers can be used to improve the child support system, which is such a vital source of support for an increasing number of US children who live apart from one of their parents.
This evidence goes against the conventional wisdom that unmarried fathers selfishly flee the moment they hear of an impending pregnancy, act like boys instead of men, and leave the mother holding the proverbial diaper bag.
Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing survey show that the conventional wisdom is far from the truth.Since the support of a child’s parents is so important to a child’s development, states like Texas have enacted legislation to help protect and encourage the parent-child relationship and hold parents responsible for the care and support of their child.
Whenever issues arise regarding the parent-child relationship or the child’s care, those issues go to . These findings suggest that in both countries custodial mothers have similar issues when it comes to receiving financial support from their children's father, despite the differences in economic development and attention to child support policy in Colombia and the U.S.
Although it is usually assumed that mothers are children's primary care givers, fathers also play an important role in children's development. Besides providing economic resources, fathers are also sources of emotional support, practical assistance, information, guidance, and supervision.
Ruth Graham recently wrote a feature for the Boston Globe shining a light on the many flaws with the modern child-support system.. Graham’s piece traces the history of the modern system and exposes how it is based on stereotypes and outdated notions.
custodial fathers and custodial mothers, the barriers they experience that prevent child support and visitation, and suggestions the parents have for improvements in the child support system. The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement offers a variety of reports and data related to child support collection and debt.
A report from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that custodial mothers received percent of the child support that was due while custodial fathers received percent of the child support owed to them.