Nonpaying Parents Cost Taxpayers $53 Billion

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 14, 2012 – According to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, billions of dollars are owed each year in unpaid child support.

In 2009, non-custodial parents owed more than $100 billion. The unpaid support becomes a government issue and an issue for taxpayers: a large number of the children not getting that support have to go on public assistance. If a child is on public assistance, the child support payments owed are supposed to go to the government as reimbursement: almost 50 percent of the money owed, approximately $53 billion, is currently owed to the U.S. government. That means taxpayers are picking up the tab to help support single mothers because their ex-partners cannot or will not pay what they owe. Some 82 percent of custodial parents are female.

“The household financial disparities can be heartbreaking post-divorce,” says Fairfax divorce lawyer Lisa McDevitt. “And yet there are many noncustodial parents who are also paying too much, every month. The whole support system could use an overhaul.”

For mothers below or near the poverty line, their child support payments are often the linchpin of their finances, and make up, on average, close to 45 percent of their overall income, according to Joan Entmacher, VP of Family & Economic Security of the National Women’s Law Center. Child support not being paid is the overwhelming reason why more than 40 percent of households headed up by single women flounder below the poverty line. The number of single-female households trying to stay afloat is at least twice the number of poverty-level households headed by single fathers, and more than four times the number of married-couple households.

How to get the “deadbeats” to pay child support is an ongoing issue. While some 60 percent of households get full child support payments, more than 70 percent of families get a percentage of their support. Meanwhile, 11 percent of the noncustodial parents owe 54 percent of the overall amount due yearly.

The U.S. government approaches nonpayment several ways, from garnishing paychecks to claiming tax refund checks to revoking hunting and driving licenses. To avoid paying support and subsequent garnishment, many nonpayers work off-book, in cash jobs or by hiding their assets.

Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181
Phone: 571-223-7642
Toll Free: 866-602-7850

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