Moms Are Way Worse Than Dads at Paying Child Support

child support

Deadbeat dads are viciously villified in the news, but what about deadbeat moms? Believe it or not, a new report suggests that moms are worse at paying child support than dads. Who da thunk it?


This shocking analysis comes from data expert Mona Chalabi at FiveThirtyEight, who found that in 2011 (the latest year statistics are available), 25 percent of custodial moms did not receive any child support that was due to them ... but also that a whopping 32 percent of custodial dads were in the same pickle.

When I first heard this, I was of course floored. What mom would dodge sending a check to her own children? Well, the most glaring reason may be that moms on average have lower incomes than dads -- $26,000 to a man's $52,000. That's quite a difference, and paints a more sympathetic picture: no, these moms aren't splurging on shopping sprees, they're just broke, while the dad is rolling in dough! So if her kid is fine financially without her help, why not keep her pittance of a paycheck to take care of herself?

More from The Stir: Child Support Isn’t a Weapon for Revenge for Either Parent

But there's another interesting factor that affects whether those child support checks get sent: whether the couple was married. Custodial moms and dads who never tied the knot were not only less likely to be awarded child support in court, but to receive those payments, too.

So, consider this a warning if you're thinking of having kids out of wedlock, as the majority of millennials now plan to do: If your romantic relationship crumbles, don't hold your breath waiting for those child support checks! Marriage may not be the end all be all, but it can apparently nudge parents to pay up. 

And I can relate to that, since I wasn't committed to marrying my partner of 12 years, even after we had our first child. Then some girlfriends pointed out, "Hey, you never know what could happen, so why not play it safe and make things official?" So we got hitched about a month after our baby's birth. And luckily, we've stayed together, so I don't know whether he'd send child support checks if we split ... still, it's nice to know that if we did, odds are decent he'd pony up.

Do you think marriage impacts whether parents pay child support?


Image via Rob Hyrons/shutterstock

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