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Child support statistics highlight single parents' struggles

Child custody and support can be challenging issues for divorcing spouses in Alameda County to sort out as they move forward. There are a lot of popular misconceptions about the amount of child support that people receive and how much financial freedom that it provides, especially related to major media coverage of celebrity divorces. For most Americans, however, the picture is far different. U.S. Census Bureau statistics present a clearer picture of the child support situation for people across the country.

The government statistics note that there are 13.4 million single parents with child custody living across the country. Even so, child support is hardly universal; only 48.7 percent, less than half, have any kind of regular support agreement in place. Most of them went to the courts to verify their child support plans, an important step to protect both parents. Nearly 90 percent used the family courts or a state agency for their support agreement.

While child support can be critically important in covering essential educational, medical and other expenses, many single parents who receive child support don't receive everything they are entitled to. In 2013, the average monthly amount of a child support order was approximately $500. However, the average single parent received around $329 each month in support. These average figures include situations in which non-custodial parents pay in full monthly, those who avoid payment entirely and those who make only partial payments.

Both single mothers and single fathers may be eligible to receive child support from non-custodial parents to help cover those critical costs of raising a child. Child custody and support can be dealt with during a divorce or in an agreement between unmarried parents. A family law attorney may help a parent pursue a child support order as well as seek enforcement of an existing order if the monthly bill goes unpaid.

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