A recent Census Bureau report titled shows that American noncustodial parents owed approximately $35.1 billion in child support in 2009. Additionally uncovered was that well under half of those entitled to child support payments received the full amount. This figure has apparently dropped in recent years, decreasing from 46.9 percent in 2007 to 41.2 percent in 2009. This still means that hundreds of thousands of families in Virginia and across the United States are missing the child support payments they are legally owed; which could result in financial difficulties and tighter family budgets.

Of the total $35.1 billion owed, the report shows that only around $21.4 billion, or 61 percent, was paid out. This means that each U.S. parent who was due child support received an average of $3,630 during 2009. In addition to monetary child support payments, the data also takes into account other forms of support, such as health insurance, gifts, clothing and other living expenses.

The report also revealed a number of other telling statistics. For instance, poverty among custodial parents' families has risen from approximately 23 percent in 2011 to 28.3 percent in 2009, perhaps representing the lower proportion of child support funds making it to these parents. Among custodial parents living at poverty levels, child support makes up about 62.2 percent of their income. For parents of all income levels, child support accounts for a total of 20.8 percent of their income.

The report displayed numerous reasons for the lack of a legal child support agreements between parents, some of the reasons included were:

  • 34.4 percent -- other parent provides what he or she can
  • 32.1 percent -- did not feel need to make legal
  • 29.2 percent -- other parent could not afford to pay
  • 16.8 percent -- could not locate other parent
  • 16.7 percent -- did not want to have contact with other parent

When a parent doesn't receive child support, it means that the child does not receive the things that they need. Sometimes those things mean adequate food and shelter. Other times it may mean that they can't play little league with the other kids in their class or that they won't be able to order a copy of their yearbook. Either way, not supporting your child, is only hurting your child.

Source: Census.gov, "Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009," Timothy S. Grall, Dec. 2011