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The financial facts behind child support

North Carolina residents who find themselves negotiating child support issues might benefit from knowing the financial facts related to child support, as almost half of all custodial mothers and three-quarters of custodial fathers do not have legal child support agreements in place. The reasons for this vary and can be misunderstood. The one thing that becomes clear when the statistics are reviewed is that custodial mothers, whether they receive child support payments or not, seem to be at a financial disadvantage when compared to custodial fathers.

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 statistics show that custodial fathers seem to be better off financially than custodial mothers. In fact, even custodial fathers who do not receive the child support amount they are awarded have an average household income that is $9,749 higher than fathers who do receive the full child support amount. The income difference is even higher between custodial fathers and mothers who do not receive the child support amount they are awarded. The average household income of custodial fathers who do not receive the child support they are awarded is $51,791, while for mothers it is $26,231. Other factors also support the idea that mothers are at a disadvantage.

Some of these factors are non-economic. For example, custodial fathers who do not have legal child support agreements are more likely to receive non-cash support from the non-custodial mother. This can include the child staying with the other parent some of the time as well as the other parent providing gifts, clothes, shoes and groceries and even paying for after-school programs or summer camps.

Being informed about how child support works is important when negotiating child support agreements. North Carolina parents who are in the process of negotiating such agreements might seek the guidance of a lawyer who can explain the laws governing child support and custody.

Source: FiveThirtyEight, " Are Moms Less Likely Than Dads To Pay Child Support?," Mona Chalabi, Feb. 26, 2015

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