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Parents aren't living lavishly off child support

A report called Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support looked to find out how much child support parents are owed and how much they actually receive. It also determined how many parents have child support arrangements in Georgia and throughout the nation. The 2016 report found that there were 13.4 million single custodial parents in the United States. The average support owed to custodial parents was $5,774 annually.

However, those parents only received an average of $3,950, which was 68.5 percent of what they were owed. This is about $329 per month that parents use to provide basic necessities such as clothing, food and healthcare for their children. In 2013, noncustodial parents owed a total of $32.9 billion in child support. While many parents had a formal court order in place, 10.2 percent had informal arrangements that they came up with on their own.

Some parents received support that was not in the form of money. In 2011, 61.5 percent of custodial parents received such support. In 2013, 6.5 million parents were awarded child support that year. Of those parents, only 45.6 percent actually received the full amount owed while 25.9 percent did not receive anything that they were owed.

Parents who fail to make child support payments could face a variety of penalties for not doing so. For instance, they could be sent to jail or have a professional license suspended. They could also have wages garnished or a tax refund taken by the government to pay back support owed. Those who are struggling to make payments as ordered may ask for a modification. However, custodial parents are still entitled to back support owed even if a modification request is approved.

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