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Myths of who actually gets child support

A report by the Congressional Research Service may be reputable, but it is not one that gets widely published. Nonetheless, a recent CRS document surfaced on child support and parties involved that could raise a few eyebrows.

Some interesting data that presented itself was that there are almost 15 million parents with custody of their children under the age of 21 while the other parent lived elsewhere. The total amount of child support paid out was over $23 million dollars, which is a sizable sum. The report further published the breakdown of those individuals.

The study revealed that, in 2011, over four of five custodial parents were mothers. About half of custodial parents were white, while a quarter were black and another quarter were Hispanic or another race. In terms of economics, nearly 40 percent were registered for at least one form of public assistance, a figure that makes sense given that 29 percent of custodial parents were found to be living below the poverty line. Less than 20 percent were married, while another third or so were divorced. Thirty-five percent had never been married. Finally, in terms of education, 15 percent did not graduate from high school, while 17 percent had obtained a bachelor's degree.

A revealing fact was the huge chasm between child support orders and actual funds received. In 2011, only 38 percent of the over 7 million custodial parents that were required by court order to receive child support got the full amount that was due them. On average, the annual child support payment received by custodial parents was just over $5,000 for mothers and almost $4,400 for fathers.

The full or partial payments made up only 17 percent of the custodial mother's yearly income and 11 percent of the fathers. The figures virtually remained unchanged from 1993 to 2011. A higher percentage of those entitled to child support in reality received what was owed them - about 37 percent - compared to 43 percent in 2011.

Child support can be a contentious matter and one that many couples battle over in family court. However, whether you receive or pay child support, there is the possibility that child support modification could help you. Florida family law attorneys may be able to help those who believe they are not getting enough support and those who feel they are paying too much.

Source: New York Daily News, "Who Exactly Gets Child Support? Beyond the Myths" James Warren, Jan. 06, 2014

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