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American parents owe $10 billion in child support

New York is one of the most expensive states to live in. Because of this, raising a child here is expensive too. This makes single-parents even more reliant on child support payments to make ends meet. Unfortunately, parents all across America lapse on child support. In fact, some do not make payments at all.

This spring, CBS News estimated that $10 billion in child support payments had not been collected. This equals over 30% of the child support payments due to children and their custodial parents. The news agency also disclosed that only about 43.5% of custodial parents received the money they needed to take care of their children.

Non-custodial parents often go through extreme lengths to avoid paying. Some drag out the court battle for as long as possible to avoid paying. Some parents may even go as far as to skip town or leave the country altogether.

The resulting missing payments can negatively affect not just the custodial parents but the children too. The poverty rate for families with a mother as the custodial parent was 29% versus 17% when the father is the custodial parent.

The New York Times, however, questions whether nonpayment is the only reason custodial parents may suffer financially. It puts forward that families relying on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families do not receive all the money the state collects on their behalf. Instead, they get about 25% of this money.

NY Times also points out that poor men account for 70% of missed or delinquent payments. These men make less than $10,000 per year. Fathers often pay as much as 65% of their salaries as child support. The NY Times questions the effectiveness of taking punitive measures against them.

While these are valid points, raising children costs money and someone has to pay for it. To expect custodial parents to cover themselves and pick up the financial slack for non-custodial parents — when they themselves may be in the same financial position or worse — is unfair and unrealistic.

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