The federal Child Support Enforcement Program is intended to help children get financial support from both of their parents, but in many cases, it is not being used. According to a forthcoming study, while the number of families in the system are getting more assistance, fewer families overall have a formal child support agreement in place. The percentage dropped to 49 percent in 2004 from 60 percent in 2014. This means that many single-parent Florida households may struggle on just one income.

Studies show that a lower income may result in poorer outcomes for children. For example, single parents may be under more stress because they are solely responsible for all aspects of raising the child, and this can be difficult for the child as well. Better cognition and fewer behavior problems are just a few of the benefits that have been linked to child support. More income also gives children better access to resources.

Parents who are paying child support also tend to participate more in their children’s lives. This means that regular child support payments can strengthen the relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent.

A parent who needs to change the amount the pay in child support might want to talk to a Venice, Florida child support attorney. There are circumstances under which a court may approve a modification of support. For example, if the parent loses a job, this might be considered a material change in circumstances. The wrong move for a parent in a situation like this would be to simply stop paying. They will still owe the money and possibly interest until a change in their support is approved. Similarly, a parent who is not receiving child support should go through legal channels and should not cut off the other parent’s access to the child.