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The link between involved fathers and child support

According to a study that examined the link between paternal participation and child support debt, noncustodial fathers in Maryland and the rest of the country who are delinquent with their child support payments see their children less often. They also tend to work fewer weeks in a year and have a greater chance of having children with multiple partners.

There are consequences for the children if a parent fails to pay child support. The children depend on the funds to cover the essential of living, such as food, housing and clothing. According to research, child support can enhance a child's life and is associated with higher academic achievement.

The authors of the study state that theirs is the first to use national data to determine if fathers who do not reside with their children are less likely to spend time with them and offer support. The data was obtained from a survey conducted on 4,897 urban families who had children who were born between 1998 and 2000.

The researchers found that an average of $7,705 of back child support was owed by over 30 percent of the more than 1,000 noncustodial fathers who were followed. The delinquent fathers worked less often, averaging five fewer weeks a year than fathers who were current with their child support. The fathers who owed child support were less educated and tended to have been incarcerated and have children with more than one partner. They also saw their children an average of three fewer days a month and were less likely to participate in daily activities with them.

A failure to make timely child support payments can be devastating to custodial parents as well as their children. There are a variety of enforcement measures, such as wage garnishments, that a family law attorney could pursue in such a situation.

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