Census Bureau: Full child support payments becoming less likely

According to a recently released report that analyzed child support payments over the past few years, the percentage of custodial parents who receive child support owed to them has been on a downward trend since 2007. Only 70.8 percent of custodial parents received as least a partial payment of the child support owed to them in 2009. This is a decline from the 76.3 percent who were paid at least part of the child support owed in 2007.

Even though this is data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland is not immune to the decline in child support payments. In these tough economic times, parents everywhere are finding it more difficult to make sure bills are paid on time.

Child support payments owed in 2009 totaled approximately $35.1 billion dollars; however, custodial parents received only 61 percent of that sum. Only 41.2 percent of custodial parents received all of the money owed to them in 2009, compared to 46.8 percent in 2007.

With the decline in the amount paid for child support every year, more custodial parents now live in poverty. In 2009, 28.3 percent of custodial parents were living in poverty. This is up from 23.4 percent in 2001. The average amount received by a custodial parent in 2009 was $300 dollars a month.

The amount received by custodial parents also affected their participation in public assistance programs. Only 31.5 percent received some form of public assistance in 2007; in 2009, 37.7 percent did.

About half of the arrangements for child support are specified in a court order or other agreement for financial support. Only 26.8 percent of custodial parents reached out to a public office for child support-related activities in 2010.

Source: Census.gov, “Custodial parents becoming less likely to receive full amount of child support, Census Bureau reports,” Robert Bernstein, Dec. 7, 2011