Study Finds Women Are Less Likely to Fulfill Child Support Obligations


Most of us think of the "deadbeat dad" stereotype when discussing a failure to pay child support after a Pasadena divorce, but a recent NPR report states that women actually fail to pay child support at a higher rate than men.

Using 2011 Census Bureau data (the most recent year available), the report found that 32% of custodial fathers received none of their court ordered child support. In comparison, 25% of custodial mothers received no payments.

As the NPR report pointed out, men who are awarded primary custody of their children are more likely to have been married to women who are struggling with serious issues such as alcoholism, drug problems, a past criminal record, and/or difficulty keeping steady employment. This makes them statistically less likely to follow through with the payment of court ordered child support.

Another possibility is that custodial fathers are less likely to vigorously pursue payment since their average income is roughly twice as high as custodial mothers. If they do not immediately need the funds for basic living expenses, they might be less likely to see the benefit of attempting to collect what they are owed.

Nevertheless, the law does not discriminate between male and female custodial parents when it comes to collecting child support. If you are a custodial parent with a former spouse who is failing to make court ordered child support payments, you have several options. A driver's license suspension is a popular way to motivate parents to pay, as those who are more than 30 days behind on child support can't receive or renew their license and all licenses are automatically revoked after 120 days of nonpayment. If your spouse has a professional license or a passport, these can also be withheld for failure to pay child support. If you file a motion for contempt, the court can order your former spouse to pay fines or serve jail time.

How Can We Help?

Since every child support case is different, it's best to speak to a Pasadena family law attorney who can develop a collection plan tailored to fit your individual circumstances. There is no statute of limitations on court ordered child support payments, so it's never too late to attempt to collect. Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at to learn more.