California parents may be interested in a study showing that fathers who are behind on their child support payments see their children less often, are more likely to have kids with multiple partners and work fewer weeks per year. The study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in February.
Researchers at Cornell University and nonprofit organization Child Trends examined data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, which surveyed 4,897 urban families who had children between the years of 1998 and 2000. They focused on approximately 1,000 noncustodial fathers, and they found that about 30 percent of them were behind on their child support payments, with an average debt of $7,705. They also found that dads who were delinquent on their support payments averaged five fewer work weeks each year than fathers who were current with their payments. Further, delinquent dads were more likely to have spent time in prison and to have fathered children with more than one partner. The quality of the father's relationship with the mother, his mental health and the number of weeks he worked were all linked to child support delinquency and lower paternal involvement, according to the authors of the study.