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Child support statistics provide nationwide information

Ohio single parents struggling to make ends meet often rely on child support in order to pay the bills for their children's educational, medical and other needs. Many people may see news reports about high-profile celebrity divorces and custody cases, and these reports can skew expectations and beliefs about the child support system for everyday people. For most people, child support provides just the necessary funds in order to cover basic expenses, and many parents still struggle to support their children adequately.

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks child support statistics across the country, including the number of single parents receiving child support, the total amount owed and the total amount actually paid. There are around 13.4 million single parents with custody across the country. However, less than half of them receive child support; only 48.7 percent have either a formal or an informal child support agreement in place. When people do receive child support, the vast majority do so through a formal order. Only 10.2 percent receive their child support through an unofficial, informal agreement without court involvement.

While there are many reports of child support non-payment, only 22.4 percent of these parents have sought assistance from the government in enforcing their child support orders. Non-payment is a significant problem for many single parents, but even devoted non-custodial parents can face financial problems. In these cases, partial child support payments can be common. The average child support order is for approximately $500 monthly, but single parents with support agreements receive an average of $329 each month in practice.

Establishing a formal child support order can be important for both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent. A family law attorney can help single parents to go to family court to make a child support determination or enforce an existing order in case of non-payment.

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