Census Bureau: High number of parents not receiving child support

According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, a startling number of parents aren’t receiving their full child support payments.

A story on the web site MainStreet.com highlights the plight that single parents are facing when trying to secure the child support dollars to which they are entitled. According to the story, the Census Bureau found that only 41.2 percent of custodial parents received the full amount of child support owed to them in 2009.

This percentage is down from 2007. But even then, more than half of custodial parents did not receive the full amount of child support owed to them. Specifically, only 46.8 percent of parents received the child support to which they were entitled.

The story summed it up another eye-opening way: In 2009, $35.1 billion worth of child support was owed. Only 61 percent of that figure was received by custodial parents.

According to Census Bureau officials, these missing child support payments are especially devastating to families that are living in poverty.

(According to the report, 28.3 percent of all custodial parents had yearly incomes that fell below the poverty line in 2009. That’s up from 23.4 percent in 2001.)

“Child support income is especially important to families in poverty, and the report shows that increasingly, custodial parents find themselves below the poverty level,” said Timothy Grall, one of the primary authors of the report and a survey statistician with the Census Bureau.

Here, the missing child support payments could be preventing children from eating healthy meals or even sleeping in a room that’s warm at night.

These numbers aren’t all that surprising considering the grim state of the economy. It’s more difficult to convince non-custodial parents to pay up now when they’re struggling with unemployment and rising prices. At the same time, however, custodial parents are also struggling with these same issues.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child support arrears or post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Main Street.com, “Parents finding it harder to get full child support payments” Dec. 7, 2011