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Study: many parents don't receive full amount of child support

Getting divorced when you have children can be a complicated issue, especially regarding your finances. Child support can be a contested issue for many families. Things can become more complicated when ex-spouses no longer get along or when one spouse doesn't pay the court ordered child support. 

Many parents struggle to pay their child support while other parents decide not to make their payments even if they can afford to. Child support awards can put both parents in a very difficult situation. If one parent cannot afford to make child support payments, it puts the other parent under pressure too because they often rely on their monthly child support payments to help make ends meet.

A new study by the Congressional Research Service found that there are millions of parents with custody of minor children where the other parent lived somewhere else. These cases result in a lot of child support orders. 

The study found that despite the millions of parents with orders to receive child support payments, only 38 percent of custodial parents with child support orders received the full amount of support they were owed in 2011. 

Many parents rely on child support payments as part of their yearly income. The study reported that 17 percent of custodial mothers' yearly income was a result of full or partial child support payments in 2011. Child support payments made up 11 percent of custodial fathers' yearly income. 

The findings of this study are somewhat troubling as many divorced parents rely on child support to help pay for monthly living expenses for their children. When these parents don't receive the full amount or any amount of child support, they may end up struggling to make ends meet. This can result in devastating consequences for the children growing up in these households. 

Source: New York Daily News, "Who Exactly Gets Child Support? Beyond the Myths," James Warren, Jan. 6, 2014

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