Monday, January 23, 2012

Child support, deadbeat moms and debtors prison

Starting point is a Dr. Helen post. I'll jump straight to the data:

A person being in arrears on child support payments is not unusual: in 2008, 11.2 million U.S. child support cases had arrears due.[1] The number of persons kept in jail or in prison for child support arrears is not generally tracked. Based on a publicly available collection of relevant data, an estimated 50,000 persons are kept in jail or in person [sic]on any given day in the U.S. for child support arrears.[2] Hence Turner v. Rogers does not merely concern a technical question of legal procedure. Being in arrears on child support payments is a situation that many persons experience. Moreover, as a result of child support debt, many persons in the U.S. are being imprisoned.

[1] - U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, FY 2008 Annual Report to Congress, Table 73.
[2] - Galbi, Douglas. "Persons in Jail or in Prison for Child-Support Debt," published Mar. 22, 2011.r

And a comparison between "deadbeat" dads / moms:

Census figures show only 57 percent of moms required to pay child support -- 385,000 women out of a total of 674,000 -- give up some or all of the money they owe. That leaves some 289,000 "deadbeat" mothers out there, a fact that has barely been reported in the media.

That compares with 68 percent of dads who pay up, according to the figures.

[...]men also still pay much more in child support. The Census Bureau last month also released numbers showing fathers paid an average of $3,000 to custodial moms in 1997. Women paid little over half that. Moms also get about 60 percent of what they are owed, whereas dads only get 48 percent.

Not only are the dads paying up more when they don’t have custody, but when the court does hand the kids over to dads, they work more than moms who have custody.

While 7 percent of custodial moms work more than 44 hours a week, 24.5 percent of single custodial dads work more than 44 hours. And only about half as many custodial dads get government help than moms.


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