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Non-custodial mothers less likely to pay child support

Pennsylvania parents may be under the impression that fathers are not granted physical custody very often. In reality, there are more custodial fathers than the general public perceives. In 2011, 18.3 percent of custodial parents were fathers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite fewer fathers than mothers being awarded custody, fathers are more likely to be stiffed child support payments from non-custodial mothers.

The data shows that while around 50 percent of custodial mothers had child support orders in 2011, only about 25 percent of custodial fathers did. Furthermore, while 25.1 percent of custodial mothers did not receive the support payments they were owed that same year, 32 percent of custodial fathers did not. Overall, custodial fathers are due about $4,160 a year in child support but receive 40 percent of that. Custodial mothers are due about $4,800 a year but receive 52 percent.

Despite this discrepancy, the study found that fathers who did not receive child support had an average household income that was $9,749 higher than fathers who did receive support. Among mothers who did not receive the support they were owed, the average household income was $4,132 lower than mothers who did.

Custodial fathers are also more likely to receive non-cash support from non-custodial mothers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For example, fathers are more likely to receive help from the other parent buying items such as clothes, shoes, groceries and gifts.

It is clear that both custodial mothers and fathers do not always receive the financial support that the court orders the non-custodial parent to pay. When a custodial parent does not receive the payments stipulated under the support order, the parent could contact a lawyer for guidance on ensuring that the payments are enforced.

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

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