Congressional Research Service Study Sheds Light on Child Support in the U.S.


Pasadena family law attorneys know that custodial parents rely heavily on child support payments to make sure their children are receiving the care they deserve. A recent study by the Congressional Research Service examining child support payments in the United States supports this conclusion. The data is from 2011, which is the most recent calendar year with full statistics available.

The study revealed that there were 14.4 million parents with custody of children under the age of 21. Of these parents, 82% were mothers and 50% worked full-time year round.

In 2011, payments averaged $5,160 per year for mothers and $4,433 for fathers. The payments represented 17% of total yearly income for the custodial mothers, but only 11% for the custodial fathers.

The study also revealed interesting trends over time. When compared to 1993 census data, the study showed that parents received less inflation-adjusted child support overall. However, a higher percentage of parents received the full amount of the payments they were legally entitled to. In 1993, only 36.9% received all of their child support payments. In 2011, 43.4% received full payment of court-ordered child support.

If you're one of the millions of custodial parents who is owed child support, you have several options available. Your ex's wages can be garnished. The state can revoke his/her driver's license, passport, and/or professional license. A contempt of court charge can be brought against the parent owing support, which would result in fines and/or a short period of time in jail. In some circumstances, criminal warrants can even be issued.

Child support debt can't be erased by a bankruptcy filing, and California has no statute of limitations on child support debt collection. Although the Congressional Research Service study illustrates that the system is not perfect, having an experienced advocate on your side can help.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at if you are in need of assistance with a child support related issue. Our skilled Pasadena family law attorneys can work to collect the money that you need to care for your children.