Unpaid child support costs taxpayers big

It may come as a surprise to some Illinois residents, but unpaid child support is reported to tip the scales at nearly $108 billion. Perhaps also unknown is that nearly half of this amount, approximately $53 billion, is owed to the federal government as reimbursement for public assistance payments made to children who went without child support.

Yet, while tax-payers are forced to cover some costs of public assistance for the children involved, the custodial parent is left to try to make up the difference in order to support his or her children. Recent statistics show that 82% of parents who are owed child support are women.

For many of these women, child support is a critical financial necessity which, on average, constitutes nearly half of female custodial parent’s financial support. Consequently, this back child support not only hurts the kids who are going financially unsupported, but also the livelihood of the caretakers themselves. For instance, 41% of households headed by single women are below the poverty line due in large part to unpaid child support, numbers which only increase when compared to single male households or married couples.

With statistics like these, it’s hard to ignore the devastating effects of our child support problem, but the question remains as to how to solve this dilemma.

Some individuals have the view that child support orders are often set too high, thus making it hard for many individuals to keep up with their payments, resulting in delinquency. On the other hand, some argue that there needs to be more mechanisms to ensure payments are made. While it is possible for the government to garnish the wages of any individual who does not pay his or her child support, sometimes getting this information can be difficult.

When going through a divorce, it is important to consider all of the factors which go into calculating child support, and to ensure that the determinations ultimately made are followed through on by all parties involved.

Source: CNN Money, “Deadbeat parents cost taxpayers $53 billion,” Steve Hargreaves, Nov. 5, 2012