Providing financial security to their children is an important part of being a parent. This is usually pretty straightforward when a child’s parents are still married. After a divorce, making sure that both parents are providing the right financial support can be far more difficult. Child support agreements are supposed to make sure that one parent is providing enough financially, but this is sadly not always the case.
A significant number of parents who are supposed to be paying child support simply are not doing so. This means there are a lot of kids in Alabama who are living without a sense of financial security in their daily lives. Here is just how big the problem is.
Billions in support goes unpaid
The U.S. Census estimates that 56.5% of custodial parents are not receiving the full support that they should. Approximately 30% do not receive anything at all. This means that less than 15% of parents with primary custody ever receive all of their owed child support.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Support Enforcement, around $10 billion goes unpaid every year. However, this figure only takes into consideration parents who are not paying anything at all. There are many parents who are making partial payments, so the real amount of unpaid child support is much higher.
Why are parents not paying?
There is no denying that life is unpredictable, and any given person’s financial situation can change quite suddenly. However, this is no excuse for skipping child support payments. Rather than owning up to the fact that they simply failed to fulfill their legal and parental obligation, parents caught not paying usually try to excuse their behavior.
A common excuse parents give is that they lost their job and no longer have the money to pay. In other situations, parents try to claim that they were paying all along, but since they made cash payments, they have no proof. Both of these situations have relatively easy solutions. If money is an issue, a parent can petition the court for a modification of the support order. If paying in cash, parents should always get a receipt.
Withholding child support as retaliation
Parents who are not paying child support sometimes claim they decided to stop because they do not have any visitation. While it can be extremely frustrating to not see a child, child support is not at all related to visitation rights. Courts rarely look kindly upon parents who purposely withhold child support in an attempt to get what they want.
Raising a child is difficult, especially for single parents. Child support is supposed to help these parents provide a financially stable environment to their children, but doing so can be hard when their ex either stops paying or only makes partial payments. You do not have to settle for this situation. If you are not receiving the support you deserve, you should consider speaking with a family law attorney who can explain your legal options.