In California, it is fairly common for children to be born to unmarried mothers. Around the country, an average of 40 percent of children are born to parents who are not married. In 2000, by contrast, the percentage of such children was around 33 percent. While the number of children who are born to single parents has increased, the percentage of parents who participate in child support programs have gone down.
Children who live in single-parent homes are almost three times as likely to be poor when compared to children who live in two-parent homes. The problem is compounded by the fact that single parents tend to have fewer job prospects and lower educational levels. When absent parents do not pay child support, the financial stress that is placed on the children is even greater.
Some absent parents do not pay child support because they are also poor and unable to afford it. They should still be expected to contribute financially, however. Single parents who are not receiving help should seek child support. In 2014, only 49 percent of eligible parents had formal child support agreements. More should be done to encourage increased participation in the best interests of their children.
Unmarried parents who are not receiving child support that they are entitled to may want tohave legal assistance in seeking an enforcement of the order. In some cases, an attorney can file a motion with the court that would result in a garnishment of wages of the delinquent parent. Other remedies that could be available through child support enforcement agencies could include an interception of the owing parent’s federal or state tax refunds.