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Providing for children after divorce

California residents may know that the current child support system began in 1975 to provide children with a consistent standard of living following divorce. At this time, a woman who divorced and had children was more likely to face poverty.

Research conducted around this time showed that following divorce, the ex-husband tended to benefit financially, even while he was paying child support while the ex-wife experienced a reduction in income and the children were most likely living with her. Nonmarital births were much less common during this period; however, divorce increased reportedly due to the introduction of no-fault divorce.

By the middle of the 1980s, couples who bore children without being married accounted for about one out of five births. At the same time, more women were seeking jobs. During this period, more men sought higher education in the form of college and, as a result, attained more skills and higher paying jobs.

In the mid-1990s, the number of unmarried mothers reached to between 25 and 28 percent and has now risen to between 41 and 42 percent. According to a director of a research partnership on children and families, the amount of unpaid child support is now about $113 billion.

In the state of Texas, for example, a man who is asked to pay child support, but has no job might still be ordered to pay a certain amount plus medical support. If the child has gotten older and the father has never paid child support that money is owed in addition to the child support.

A parent who has been ordered to pay child support but has had a change in income may request that the court lower the amount. An attorney may be able to review the information needed to request a modification and prepare the necessary paperwork.

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