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Unpaid child support has reached $14 billion

People in Montgomery, Tennessee, may be shocked to learn about the amount of money due to the children of divorced parents. Often, a separation after a failed marriage can result in a custody dispute over the child. While going through a divorce or a paternity proceeding, it is important to keep in mind the future and well-being of the child. In many cases, it is the money that the custodial parent receives as child support that ensures a secure and hopeful future for the child or children.

The Census Bureau recently released a study on child support dues. According to the study, in 2011, $14 billion in child support had not been paid. Approximately half of all parents to whom the child support was due were poverty stricken. Only 31 percent of children who had no contact with the other parent received their child support. The nationwide average due for child support was $500. However, the average amount that was actually paid was $315. The situation was slightly better among more educated people and those who shared custody of the child.

Although some parents may want to support their children financially, circumstances may not be in their favor. Loss of a job, a pay cut or a medical emergency may lead to this situation and the parent may find it hard to manage finances. The parent, expecting that the financial situation will get better soon, may decide not to pay child support for a period of time. However, this can lead to the parent not paying and thus breaking the law. The law is usually not forgiving in that case and the parent may be put in jail.

Hence, parents must understand the laws so that they can act accordingly when faced with financial difficulties. In Tennessee, the parent can approach authorities for modification of the child support amount so that the parent is able to make payments on time. This can enable the parent to support the child financially and be a part of the child's upbringing.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Billions of dollars in child support go unpaid yearly," Emily Alpert Reyes, Nov. 20, 2013

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