Custodial parents and child support payments

California parents who have physical custody of their children may appreciate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimate that it can cost up to $250,000 to raise a child from birth to adulthood. In 2014, approximately one-quarter of all children living in families were in households with only one parent. Many of these types of families rely significantly on support from the noncustodial parent.

Many custodial-parent families receive no support from the non-custodial parent, while others receive non-financial support in the form of clothes, food, diapers and other essential supplies. Less than half of custodial-parent families surveyed in a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report actually received all support they were owed. This figure represented a significant increase from the 36.9 percent who received every payment in 1993.

The average amount of payment received by custodial-parent families in 2013 was approximately $330 each month. These figures differed significantly from the average amount owed, which was $480 each month and $5,770 annually. Child support makes up a significant amount of the personal income for many custodial parents. For those below the poverty line who received all of their support payments in 2013, the payments were 70.3 percent of their average personal income.

The expenses for raising a child include day care expenses, medical care, education and other everyday costs. Without support payments, it may be difficult for the custodial parent to manage all of these expenses alone. A custodial parent who is having difficulty in obtaining the amount that is owed may want to have the assistance of a family law attorney in seeking enforcement of the order.

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