Fathers who owe child support visit their children less, work less and face other problems, according to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in February. They may also be liable for criminal and civil penalties, such as having their vehicle registration renewals blocked in Texas and revocation or restriction of professional, occupational or recreational licenses, in many other states.
Parents paid $32.4 billion in support for the care of their children in fiscal year 2015, according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. Many parents who do not live with their children must also make these payments. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that mothers with child custody received 67.5 percent of support that was owed, while custodial fathers received 74.9 percent of support that that was owed to them.
Over 30 percent of fathers in this country owed an average of $7,705 in late payments, according to the study. Delinquent fathers worked, on average, five fewer weeks each year than fathers who were current. They also had less education, were more likely to have served prison time and had children with multiple partners.
Late payments had consequences for children who rely on the support for daily expenses. Delinquent fathers provided less clothing, toys, medicine and other in-kind support.
Late payments also affected children in non-material ways. Fathers were also less involved with their children and visited, on average, less than three times each month. These fathers had less involvement with daily activities, such as homework, reading books with their children and playing outdoors. A 1999 study in the journal, Demography, found that child support is also associated with better academic achievement for children.
The link between late child support payments and lower paternal involvement is attributed to three factors. These include the father’s relationship with the children’s mother, the number of weeks he works annually and his mental health.
Fathers involved in these support and custody issues may need legal assistance to help assure that custody and support orders are fair and reasonable. An attorney can help assure that fathers’ rights are protected.
Source: JournalistsResource.org, “Fathers see their kids less often if they owe child support,” accessed on Feb. 24, 2017