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Texas lags in child support payments, Census Bureau reports

A national survey by the U.S. Census Bureau offers some new statistics that may be of interest to single parents in Texas. The Survey of Income and Program Participation shows that many Texas parents are behind on their child support payments. Although that may come as no surpise to parents waiting for these payments, the report offers some specifics.

The numbers for 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, are reflected in a new report by SIPP, whose mission is to provide information on the income and program participation of every person and household in the U.S. The data collected is used to gauge the effectiveness of federal, state and local programs.

On a national scale, child support payments average $430 per month. Including all "children" under age 21, that's an average of $5,150 per year. Despite the fact that more fathers are being awarded primary custody these days, mothers are still well ahead of that curve. About 85 percent of child support providers are male.

Here in Texas, more child support was collected in 2010 than in any other state. But when it comes to collecting overdue support, the state lags behind. The number of delinquent cases and the amount of money owed in those cases is rising quickly, outpacing other states. Parents in Texas owe an estimated $13.3 billion in child support.

Approximately three out of four child support providers in the U.S. are under an agreement or a court order to pay this support. But compliance with these orders appears to go down the more children a parent has. Only 6 out of 10 parents paid support for one child; 3 in 10 parents paid support for two children, and 1 in 10 paid the support they owed for three or more children.

The methods of getting parents to pay overdue child support vary from state to state. In Texas, authorities can garnish wages and income tax refunds. Another option, of course, is to speak with an attorney about your child support collection problems, whether you're owed payments or are having a difficult time making them.

Source: ConnectAmarillo.com, "Child support national average, Texas lags," Brandon Carpenter, June 19, 2012

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