According to the U.S. Census, of the $37.9 billion owed in child support, only $14.4 million was paid in 2011. Where the child had contact with the non-custodial parent, the full amount was received 49.1 percent of the cases. Where the child did not have contact with the non-custodial parent, the full amount of child support was only received 30.7 percent of the time.
Most custodial parents (81.7%) are mothers. According to the Census study, the more contact a child has with the non-custodial parent, the more likely the custodial parent will receive the full amount of child support. Other factors which were found to be associated with a higher likelihood of receiving the full amount of child support, according to the Census study, were the custodial parent having at least a bachelor’s degree (50.6%), being divorced (48.4) and being age 40 or older (48.4). 56.3 percent of parents sharing joint physical or legal custody received/paid the full amount of child support. This was the highest observed rate in the study.
Factors associated with a lower likelihood of receiving the full amount of child support, according to the study, were being under 30 years old (36.6%), having less than a high school education (36.4%) and never having been married (35.1%).
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