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It may be wiser to keep children out of child support disputes

It may come as a surprise to many Tennessee residents, but unpaid child support in 2011 stood at an astounding $14 billion nationwide according to the United States Census Bureau. Surprisingly, only 43 percent of the 6.3 million custodial parents in the country, who averaged $6,050 monthly, received child support that was due to them and their children. The majority of parents who did not receive child support were women and many of them were living in poverty.

Another interesting fact is that 26.1 percent of all custodial parents approached child support enforcement agencies in 2012 to seek assistance. This, however, is significantly lower than 1994 when 42.2 percent custodial parents sought assistance.

Interestingly, it has often been observed that many children often develop an antagonistic feeling toward their custodial parent when he or she takes the non-custodial parent to court for not paying child support. As a result many custodial parents hesitate to take the other spouse to the court over child support delinquency.

The census report also found that non-custodial parents who are in regular contact with their children were more likely to pay child support. Therefore, not taking a non-custodial parent to court may have its benefits since a court battle can only add more bitterness to an already deteriorating relationship between the estranged parents.

Considering all the complications that are usually a part of child support disputes, it may be wiser for parents to refrain from involving their children in that dispute because the battles between the estranged parents can take a significant emotional toll on their children, mainly because they are unable to understand the need for a court's intervention.

However, that does not mean that a parent should not fight for child support because the money received is used to protect the best interests of the child. Therefore, it may always be a wiser option for a custodial parent to seek appropriate legal advice before getting involved in a legal battle over child support.

Source: The Washington Post, "Things can get ugly when family and money mix, especially over child support," Michelle Singletary, July 12, 2014

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