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The role of child support in a changing social climate

In 1975, Section IV-D of the Social Security Act was established, which oversaw the collection of child support. Its goal was to help parents in California and elsewhere protect their children. It was designed to keep the family as whole as possible after a divorce where the children's father would support the children through child support payments.

In that time, it was common for fathers to go to work while mothers stayed home with the children. However, that is not necessarily the case anymore. More women have entered the workforce and have become financial providers as well, and in some cases, the father may never have contributed financially to the household. Furthermore, a child's mother and father may never have been married, with as many as 42 percent of births occurring out of wedlock.

In Texas, a parent may be ordered to pay more than $200 a month even if he or she has no declared income or current employment. If a parent has failed to pay support in the past, he or she could be ordered to pay back support upfront in addition to support moving forward even if that parent was unaware of the child's existence. It has led to a situation where an estimated $113 billion in child support has gone unpaid.

When determining child support, a judge will look at a parent's income or ability to earn money to make support payments. Talking to an attorney may be helpful in establishing how much an individual may need or how much an individual may be able to contribute. A judge will then create an order based on the case details and based on state statutes related to child support.

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