Child support and parental involvement

Pennsylvania fathers who do not have a good relationship with their child’s mother and who work fewer hours might be less likely to be current on child support based on the results of a study that appeared in the Journal of Marriage and Family in February 2017. Researchers say that the study found that fathers who were behind on child support also spent less time with their children, but they identified a number of other factors that might have contributed to falling behind in support. These fathers were also more likely to have other children by different mothers and to have been incarcerated.

Fathers who were behind on support spent an average of three fewer days per month with their children, and they were involved in fewer daily activities with them such as homework and playing.

They were also less likely to provide such in-kind items as food and medicine. The study looked at 4,897 families and interviewed the parents when their children were of various ages. The data released was from the child’s ninth year. More than 1,000 fathers in the study did not live with their children.

When a divorce happens, parents may be concerned about both child support and custody. A judge may award custody to the parent who is the child’s main caregiver. However, parents might also want to negotiate custody. A parent who is concerned about paying support might want to discuss the situation with their attorney. Support is calculated using a formula, and extenuating circumstances, such as having other children to support, may also be taken into account. Parents who are concerned about whether they will receive support should be sure to get a legally binding child support order. This will help enable the local child support enforcement agency to penalize the parent who does not pay.

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