Noncustodial moms and dads: Who reneges more on support payments?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

Historically, and over many decades, child support outcomes have dictated that divorced mothers be awarded custody of the children in a marriage and that noncustodial fathers have visitation rights and take on the role of making regular child support payments.

Although that is the long-tenured family law paradigm all across the country, including in Illinois and Missouri, its routine application by judges in divorce cases has become, well, far less routine in recent years.

Empirical evidence amply supports that. Quite simply, many more couples these days are awarded joint custody. In cases where children do end up living with one parent, with the other being deemed a noncustodial caregiver, it is far from uncommon presently for a father to have custody and for a mom to be the noncustodial parent.

That means that divorced mothers are being tasked to pay child support in increasingly more cases. Although a recent article discussing noncustodial parents and child support payments rightly points out that it would be unreasonable to make too much of this (reportedly, mothers outnumber dads by a ratio of about 9:1 when it comes to the parent receiving support payments), the changing paradigm is certainly worth noting.

As to the headline question posed above, the answer supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau is that moms more frequently default on child payment duties than do dads.

Again, though, it doesn’t merit making too much of that fact, for this reason: Reportedly, custodial fathers are generally in a better place financially than are custodial moms.

What that often means is this: Those dads don’t have as strong a need for a regular payment stream coming in from a former partner. That reality seems strongly buttressed by census data indicating that, on average, a custodial dad not receiving child support payments has an annual income of nearly $52,000.

Flipped over and applied to moms in the same situation, the income is just about half that, namely, $26,231.

As the above-referenced article notes, “on the whole, custodial fathers struggle a lot less financially than moms do.”

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