In Texas and across the nation, there are reportedly more than $100 billion in outstanding child support payments due and owed. Nearly half of that total amount is owed to taxpayers. When custodial parents do not receive the child support that is due, many have to rely on public assistance. When they do, the taxpayers foot the bill.
When parents fail to make child support payments and government programs then provide assistance, the non-paying parent is supposed to reimburse the government. According to the vice president of the National Women's Law Center, around $53 billion of the $108 billion owed should be going to reimburse the government. This total underscores that it is not only the custodial parent and children who suffer, but also the taxpayers.
Women comprise around 82 percent of custodial parents. Of those women, child support represents around 45 percent of their total income. Because there is such a deficit in the amount of child support owed and being paid, nearly 41 percent of women-led households are said to live below the poverty line.
It is important to note that not all parents who cannot meet their child support obligations are willfully avoiding the financial responsibility. Officials acknowledge that some parents who are chronic non payers work "under the table" so that they do not have to declare income. However, it is equally true that many non-custodial parents simply cannot pay due to their economic circumstances.
The tough economic times have created difficulties for many parents. That can lead to financial inability to pay child support. When these circumstances arise, parents should seek guidance about what options are available to keep them on track and out of the support enforcement crosshairs.
Those Texas parents that deal with the financial circumstances proactively may find that they are able to solve their problems without suffering further consequences.
Source: CNN Money, "Deadbeat parents cost taxpayers $53 billion," Steve Hargreaves, Nov. 5, 2012