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Billions in child support unpaid, may leave parents struggling

In Arkansas, raising a child can be quite expensive even when a couple is together, but it can be made more complicated when a couple is no longer together. Child support seeks to ease the burden placed on the custodial parent by requiring the noncustodial parent to make monthly payments to the custodial parent, thus helping financially raising the child. While full, on-time child support payments are the ideal, the truth of the matter for many parents is far from it.

According to a report released by the Census Bureau, more than $14 billion in child support went unpaid in 2011. This number means only 62 percent of all child support was actually paid to custodial parents. Also, only 43.4 percent of custodial parents received the entire amount of child support they were due to receive. The report also found education and age played a part in determining those most likely to pay their child support obligation.

Family legal issues like child support are often hotly contested. A family law attorney can assist a custodial parent in their effort to obtain an amount that satisfies their child’s needs. Though that figure may be reached during the divorce process, the matter is far from over. As evidenced by the Census Bureau report, legal assistance may be needed after a divorce in an effort to recover overdue payments.

While many are quick to judge parents who fail to make their child support payments, sometimes these circumstances arise because of unexpected circumstances. The sudden loss of a job or the onset of a medical condition that is expensive to treat can greatly hinder a non-custodial parent’s ability to pay his or her child support obligation. These individuals, too, may be able to find relief through the legal system by getting their obligation amount lessened, yet still allowing him or her to play a financial role in the raising of his or her child.

Source: Highlands Today, “One-third of child support is uncollected Census Bureau: More than $14 billion owed to custodial parents,” Gary Pinnell, Dec. 20, 2013

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