The goal of child support is to ensure that single parents are able to provide for their children. In spite of the fact that the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement collects billions of dollars in support payments each year, a very large percentage of parents are not receiving the child support they are owed. According to data from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, about 67 percent of single mothers receive what they are owed, compared to nearly 75 percent of single fathers.

Along with the reduction of financial stress that child support can provide single parents, a 1999 study published in Demography shows that there may be a link between improved academic outcomes and children with parents who pay child support. Another study indicates that there are many other commonalities between fathers who pay child support.

Fathers who make regular child support payments spend three more days a month, on average, than those who are behind or don’t make payments. They are also more likely to spend quality time with their children doing things like reading to them or helping with homework.

Parents who do not receive the child support that they are owed have some methods of enforcement at their disposal. Going through the court system, individuals may be able to obtain a judgment against a nonpaying parent. These could include wage garnishments, bank account levies, interception of income tax refunds, and suspension of driver’s and professional licenses. In some cases, the delinquent parent could be incarcerated. A family law attorney can often be of assistance to such a parent in this regard.