Child Support for Custodial Mothers and Fathers
Two parent custodial families are not a common aspect of American culture any longer. Many families have custodial parents who have divorced and left children in single parent homes. The facts presented here are intended to show that statistics do not always present the facts accurately. The U.S. Census Bureau says, In 1998, an estimated 14 million parents had custody of 22.9 million children less than 21 years of age whose other parent lived elsewhere. Custodial mothers represented 85.1 percent of all custodial parents while the remaining 14.9 percent were fathers. This has statistically been unchanged since 1994. About 25.8 percent of all children less than 21 living in families had a parent not living in the home .
The statistics for child support among custodial mothers show that many custodial mothers do not receive child support due to various reasons. The United States Census Bureau completed a report on the poverty level of custodial mothers in the time period between 1993 and 1997, reporting the results every two years of that period. In 1993, the poverty rate for custodial mothers was 36.8 percent below the national poverty rate average. In 1995 and 1997, the poverty rates for the same group of mothers was 33.3 percent and 32.1 percent, respectively. I state these facts to prove the point that, even though legal agreements were made to provide support for these parents, the custodial mothers do not receive adequate financial compensation to sustain the minor child in day-to-day activities. However, the same Census Bureau reported in 1997, that the income was higher and the poverty levels lower for those custodial mothers and fathers who received all of the total amount of child support due them in that calendar year. The poverty rate experienced a dramatic drop from 32.1 percent of the same year to 15.2 percent for those receiving full support payments. The facts show that custodial mothers need the payments in order to provide an environment in which the minor child would not have to be raised in poverty and neglecting necessary things required for living.
Of the 14 million custodial parents in 1998, 7.9 million had some type of support agreement or award for compensation for their children. The remaining 6.1 million parents had no child support agreements or the agreements were pending.
Various reasons were attributed to the fact of 44.6 percent of all custodial parents not having made legal or informal agreements. Majority of the reason was due to the parents feeling that there was no need for a legal agreement. The other reasons rounded out to be that the other parent could not afford to pay, or the other parent provided what they could.
When we view the government data that 6.2 million single custodial mothers do not receive child support, we cringe in disbelief, and wonder how custodial fathers can be so uncaring to their children. However, examining the data closer reveals a much different aspect of why things are the way they are. When the reasons for custodial mothers not receiving child support, or not even having a child support order to begin with, are examined, it becomes clear that deadbeat dads are a rarity. Of the statistics put out in 1998, only 13.3 percent of the total unpaid child support was due to a custodial father not being able to be located or the father not paying.
The aforementioned statistics on non-paying custodial fathers represents that not all fathers abandon their responsibilities or their children. The reputation for custodial fathers is being ruined by the 13.3 percent of fathers who cannot be located or who are not paying a child support order. Most single, custodial fathers are good, loving people who will happily care for and love their children. However, we believe the worst of single fathers, we accept the negative images of deadbeat dads without question, only to find out that they account for a very small minority of the population of custodial parents.
The statistics show that both custodial parties face problems in receiving child support payments, in living with false statements, and deal with misrepresented facts. It was my objective to show all angles of the issues between custodial parents regarding child support. Custodial mothers face extreme poverty at times, however, it was shown that it was not always due to custodial or single father abandoning his responsibilities. The legalities of every separate child support case far exceed what this simple report explains, but these facts presented here were intended to show sides that people do not seem to observe.
U.S. Census Bureau. October 2000