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Child support and custodial-parent families

Florida parents may be interested in the Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion's finding that a child costs nearly $250,000 to raise from birth to adulthood. Many families rely on support from the noncustodial parent to maintain their households. Approximately one-quarter of children under the age of 21 living as part of a family live with one parent only, according to 2014 research. Approximately five out of six of those custodial parents were mothers.

Not all custodial-parent families studied received support from the non-custodial parent. A little less than half of the families had court orders or financial agreements that obligated the non-custodial parent to provide financial support. In 2013, a little over 45 percent of families that should have received child support actually got all of their payments.

Non-cash support is received by approximately 61.7 percent of custodial parents. Of the custodial parents who received financial support, the average amount was $330 per month. Child support makes up a significant portion of personal income for lots of custodial-parent families. It is especially important to lower income families. Support payments represent just over 70 percent of the average annual personal income for custodial-families below the poverty line.

Receiving child support can be a difficult process for a single parent to navigate alone. Even with a court-ordered payment schedule, many noncustodial parents do not follow through on their payment obligations or pay only a party of what is owed. Working with a child support attorney may be helpful when it comes to securing a child support agreement that meets the needs of the custodial-parent household as well as enforcing payments that are not being honored.

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