Low-income fathers want to contribute to children, study suggests

Life can be difficult for single parents in today’s economy. In New Jersey as with most states, the parent who has the lesser amount of physical custody is generally the one who pays child support to the custodial parent. In most cases, the parent who pays child support is the father. Sometimes fathers have a difficult time making their monthly payments even though they still love their children and wish they could do more to help.

A recent study followed 367 low-income non-custodial fathers. The study showed that 23 percent of these dads made their court-ordered payments through their states’ child support agencies, while 28 percent gave money to the mothers and 46 percent contributed in other ways. These included providing clothing, money for school supplies, baby items and food.

The study also discovered that fathers who spent more time with their children were likely to contribute more in child support and in-kind contributions than those who saw their children less often. This may be due to fathers feeling more appreciated when they receive recognition for providing items their children need. Some sociologists believe that when mothers refuse to allow fathers to see their children if they are not current on child support, it can hurt the relationship between fathers and children. It can also strain friendly relations between both parents and lead to fathers contributing even less.

Both parents have an obligation to provide for their children. Some aspects of the child support system can take a parent’s circumstances into consideration to make it easier for the non-custodial parent to meet his or her financial obligations.

Source: TIME, “How Deadbeat are Deadbeat Dads, Really?” Belinda Luscombe, June 15, 2015

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