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Many single mothers do not receive child support

The number of single mothers with minor children in the U.S. in 2011 was 10 million. With 84.1 percent of single parent households headed by women in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there seem to be a number of people in the U.S. having children without getting married. When a relationship ends, it can lead to a major argument over child custody and child support. But in some cases, it may lead to neither, as one in three children are being raised without a father.

When a couple has children without getting married and decide to call it quits, child support is not suddenly listed as an unreasonable request. Child custody must be determined in this situation because there is still a child to care for, even when the relationship has ended. And if one parent is deemed the custodial parent, that one should receive financial support from the noncustodial parent to help take care of the child that they brought into the world together.

According to the Census Bureau, 42 percent of custodial mothers do not have a child support order. An even higher rate of unmarried mothers lack child support orders: 66 percent. This figure shows that approximately two out of three single, unmarried mothers are not receiving child support. Reports indicate that of the fraction of mothers that do have support orders in place, only half receive payments. This is alarming to mothers in New Jersey and elsewhere. Those who believe they are owed child support should contact an attorney to help with proper legal arrangements.

Anyone struggling with child support arrangements--be they unmarried or divorced--should be aware that they are entitled to these payments because they are caring for the child of a former relationship. Because it was once a relationship, both parties must legally provide for the child. If the custodial parent is tasked with physically and emotionally raising the child then the noncustodial parent is tasked with contributing, at the least, in a financial way.

Source:  Nerd Wallet, "Resources for Single Mothers" Divya Raghavan, May. 10, 2013

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