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Statistics on child support show delinquencies aren't uncommon

Child support can be a contentious issue between Virginia parents who are no longer romantically involved with one another. Some may be under the impression that child support guidelines are too high, unnecessarily penalizing the paying parent. However, the statistics on child support in our nation paint a different picture.

First, let's look at the big picture of child support in the United States. Of the 13.4 million custodial parents on our nation, nearly 50 percent have a child support agreement. Around 90 percent of these agreements are in the form of court orders or agency orders, while around 10 percent are informal.

In 2013, the amount of child support payments owed reached almost $33 billion. The average custodial parent received $5,774 annually in child support, amounting to monthly child support payments of less than $500. However, of that support, merely 68.5 percent was actually paid to the custodial parent.

Of the parents receiving child support, merely 45.6 percent of them were paid all they were owed. This is an uptick of a staggering 43.4 percent from 2011. 28.5 percent of these parents were partially paid what was owed, while 25.9 percent were paid nothing at all.

As this shows, the underpayment or non-payment of child support owed is a serious issue in our nation. Despite any animosity the child's parents have between themselves, and despite whether the parents feel the amount owed is fair, in the end child support is paid for the well-being of the child. So, when these payments are not made, ultimately it is the child who suffers. Therefore, custodial parents who are not receiving the child support due to them will want to take the steps necessary to address the situation.

Source:, "U.S. Child Support Statistics," Jennifer Wolf, Sept. 21, 2017

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