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Few custodial parents receive full child support payments

Child support payments are undoubtedly vital for single parents in Louisiana and across the United States. In some cases, this could be the only monetary support available to a child, used to pay for things that are essential to his or her well-being. These facts make recent stats provided by the United States Census Bureau all the more alarming.

Recent numbers show that many individuals are not living up to their child support obligations, as "just 41.2 percent of custodial parents received the full amount owed to them during 2009." Stats tallied from 2007 had this number at 46.8 percent, showing a clear decrease in parents receiving the full amount they need for the year. Non-custodial parents owed a combined $35.1 billion during 2009. Just 61 percent of this number was actually received.

The report was titled "Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009," which examined the 13.7 million custodial parents nationwide. These parents had custody of a combined 22 million children under the age of 21. Eighty-two percent of these parents were mothers.

This trend is leaving more and more custodial parents to live below the poverty line because they do not receive adequate funds from a child's biological mother or father. The census report stated that 28.3 percent of custodial parents received an income that was below the poverty line. This was about a 5 percent increase from 2007.

Of custodial parents nationwide, just over 50 percent of them had a court order to receive financial support from the noncustodial parent. While 90.9 percent of these were legally binding -- the others being informal arrangements -- it is tough to tell whether that is making much of a difference.

Source: MainStreet, "Parents finding it harder to get full child support payments," Kristin Collela, Dec. 7, 2011

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