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Unpaid child support in 2011 approached $38 billion

Posted By Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jan 25, 2014 in Child Support

Not every marriage in Canaan works, and if a couple chooses to divorce, they must also decide how they are going to divide their things. While property division is certainly not easy, trying to figure out child custody and child support takes divorce to a whole new level. More often than not, both parents want to share custody of the children and, if the time they spend with the children are nearly equal, one parent may feel it is unfair to be ordered to pay child support.

Child support payments are intended to be used for a child's expenses and are in the child's best interests. The idea is that if a child lives with one parent or primarily with one parent, that parent will be unfairly burdened with the child's expenses while the other parent retains much of his or her income. This may make sense when the child custody arrangement is unfairly waited to one parent, but what about when the parents have nearly equal custody?

Payments often reflect child custody arrangements, but noncustodial parents may still protest the award and refuse to pay or only partially pay child support. While 62.3 percent of parents are paying exactly what they have been ordered to pay by the courts, there are a significant number of parents who are underpaying.

All of that unpaid support adds up and there was $37.9 billion in unpaid child support in 2011. It also can lead to enforcement actions in family court and a parent can be found in contempt of a court order.

Source: The New York Times, “Software for Sorting Out Child Support,” Quentin Hardy, Dec. 26, 2013