In Florida and around the country, separating parents often enter into child custody and visitation agreements. One common concern among those paying child support and those receiving it is if the amount they are paying or receiving is normal. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a study every few years to determine just that, and the results may surprise some Americans.
According to the most recent release of the Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support Report, only about half of the 13.4 million single custodial parents in the U.S. have some form of child support agreement in place. The great majority of those agreements are in writing with a little over 10 percent having only a verbal agreement. Less than one-quarter of those parents who were awarded child support sought the government’s help in enforcing those payments.
The study found that the average amount of child support paid each year was $5,774 per year. Unfortunately, this comes to less than $500 per month in support for each child. What is more alarming is that only 68.5 percent of the money owed to custodial parents was actually received. In reality, parents received an average of $329 per month to help provide housing, clothing, food and other support for their children. Another troubling statistic showed that of all the custodial single parents who were awarded child support in the same year the study was conducted, only 45.6 percent were actually paid the full amount due by the other parent.
When parents separate or divorce, the most important consideration should be the support of the children. This issue should never be taken lightly, and the decisions made during this difficult process can have a lifetime of implications for both the parents and the children. A skilled attorney experienced in matters of child support and alimony may be able to provide a strong advocate for the best interest and outcome of children caught in a difficult situation.