Child support compliance and gender

More than 25 percent of children in America who are under 21 years of age are raised in one-parent households while a non-custodial parent lives in another location. Texas residents may wonder if support payment issues are equally challenging when mothers are the support-owing parties. In 2011, the percentage of fathers being awarded custody grew to more than 18 percent, which means that the issue of mothers potentially owing child support may be on the rise as well. Although there may be a common concern about support payments, statistics indicate that the financial conditions of custodial fathers may be significantly different from those of custodial mothers.

Custodial fathers who don't receive child support that is due have average household incomes that are far higher than those of custodial mothers who are facing a non-custodial parent's failure to pay support. The rate of poverty among custodial mothers is nearly twice the poverty rate for custodial fathers. In other words, custodial mothers are statistically shown to be in a more serious financial situation when support isn't paid than when a custodial father does not receive support.

Support is in some cases provided to custodial fathers in non-cash forms, including gifts, provision of groceries and other in-kind methods. Additionally, many custodial parents don't have legal support orders in place. This is true for approximately 50 percent of custodial mothers and 75 percent of custodial fathers. In many cases, this is due to the view that the other parent will provide what is possible when they are able.

A custodial parent who is living on a small income will often find that a support order is necessary to help cover child-related costs. If an order is not in place, a family law attorney may be able to help obtain one through a petition to the court.

Source: fivethirtyeight.com, "Are Moms Less Likely Than Dads To Pay Child Support?", Mona Chalabi, Feb. 26, 2015

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