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Child support agreements often not kept by mothers and fathers

Individuals in Missouri may not know that, despite the fact that more women fail to pay obligated child support than men, women who are owed child support and do not receive it tend to be worse off financially than men in the same situation. The average household income for a mother who is not receiving the child support she is owed is $26,231 versus $51,791 for fathers.

According to 2011 figures, fathers make up around a fifth of custodial parents. Fewer than half of custodial mothers or fathers receive the full amount of child support that they are owed, but fathers who are not receiving the child support they are due have a household income that is higher by nearly $10,000 than those who do receive child support. On the other hand, the household income of mothers who do not receive child support payments due is over $4,000 lower than mothers who do receive it. Furthermore, in 2011, twice as many custodial mothers were living in poverty compared to custodial fathers.

Mothers are also more likely than fathers to receive what is known as "non-cash" support. This might include groceries or payment for child care. A further issue is that almost 75 percent of custodial fathers and nearly 50 percent of custodial mothers have no child support agreement in place at all.

Individuals who are going through a divorce with children may need to negotiate issues around support and child custody. It is important to try to agree on an amount that one parent can pay and that the other parent can count on receiving. Custodial parents may want to work with an attorney to ensure that the amount agreed upon is fair and that they have recourse if it is not paid.

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