Data suggests mothers less likely to pay child support

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2011, mothers in Texas and elsewhere are statistically less likely to pay child support when they are the noncustodial parent. Contrary to popular belief, 32.1 percent of noncustodial mothers do not pay any child support while only 25 percent of noncustodial fathers do not make the payments. Despite this, in 2011, $14.3 billion in owed child support went unpaid, and $1.7 billion of that amount was owed to custodial fathers.

The journalist who examined the census data says the wage gap between men and women might explain part of the discrepancy. Female-run households receive about half the annual income of male-led households. Additionally, women are more likely to rely on state child support collection than men. Another suggested explanation is that women are more likely to assist with non-monetary child needs such as daycare, medical bills, birthday and holiday presents and clothes than men are.

The gender gap does not end at wages. The annual household income for custodial fathers who collect child support is more than $9,000 lower than fathers who receive such payments, while custodial mothers’ annual income increases by over $4,000 when they are owed support.

Despite this data, many custodial parents rely on support obligations to maintain their standard of living and support their children. Those who may need assistance enforcing a support order might choose to take their case to an attorney. In cases where a parent with an obligation is no longer able to make payments due to a change in circumstances, the attorney might be able to help negotiate a modification of the standing agreement.