According to the National Women’s Law Center, taxpayers have paid more than $53 billion for children who should be receiving child support from a non-custodial parent. This amount is credited to the fact that many single parents are receiving public assistance to pay for necessities for their children and the government is not collecting the money owed from the non-custodial parent.
When a standing child support order is in place, that assistance becomes repayable to the government, almost as if assistance programs are lenders to the parents who are not paying support regularly. However, the extreme balances owed show that the government is, in many cases, unable to collect on these “loans” from the parent ordered to pay support.
Many non-custodial parents do not have the option of simply doing without these payments. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, more than 62 percent of the income of a custodial parent whose earnings are below poverty level comes from child support. If a single parent does not receive this support, financial assistance from the government may be crucial to allow the parent to provide for the children.
A parent may consult with an attorney before agreeing to a settlement regarding child support. This consultation is even more crucial when the parent seeking child support has a relatively low income. Parents in this position need all options at their disposal so that they have the best chance possible of collecting child support from a non-custodial parent.
Source: CNN Money, “Deadbeat parents cost taxpayers $53 billion,” Steve Hargreaves, Nov. 5, 2012