Child support exists to provide financial assistance to parents raising a child or children on their own. With child support, it should be easier for single parents to provide clothing, food and shelter for children. As a result, when a couple splits up and one person is no longer living with their children, this parent is normally obligated to pay child support.
However, in many cases, child support is not always forthcoming or not on a timely basis. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, single mothers receive just 67.5 percent of the child support owed to them, and single fathers receive 74.9 percent of the child support they are supposed to get. Based on research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, it appears that fathers who do not make regular child support payments have several things in common.
Those who are late or make no payments at all tend to be less educated and more likely to be incarcerated than those who keep up with child support payments, and they are also more likely to have had children with other partners. Additionally, fathers who don't make regular payments normally spend less time with their children and aren't as likely to make in-kind contributions, such as clothing, medicine or toys. On average, those who didn't keep up with child support payments saw their children three fewer days a month than those who did.
If the financial situation of a parent changes, a child support modification may be available. For instance, if the custodial parent loses their job or the parent paying support gets a much better one, a modification may allow for an increase in required monthly child support payments.