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Child support statistics across the United States

It's common to feel a bit lost when working out your divorce agreement and considering child support. How much do people normally pay? What will the judge order you to pay? Is it fair? Is it enough? Is it too much?

Odds are, you haven't done this before. It's all brand new, so you're not sure how to take the information you're being given.

Doing research in advance can help to paint a clear picture. Below are a few key statistics to get started.

  • In the country, there are roughly 13.4 million single parents with custody of their kids.
  • Child support agreements are in place for 48.7 percent of those parents.
  • The majority of these agreements, at 89.8 percent, are standing legal agreements that must be honored. Some are informal, but that's far less common.
  • Most people do not need to turn to the government to get help collecting what is owed. That said, it still happens in 22.4 percent of cases, so it pays to know your options.
  • In 2013, studies showed that parents who had been ordered to pay owed a total of $32.9 billion dollars. It's a staggering sum when taken all together.
  • The yearly average for each parent, though, was far smaller. It came in at just $5,774 owed annually. That means each parent who is collecting took in under $500 a month, on average.

Child support is very important and the agreements and court orders are legally binding. No matter which side of the equation you're on, be sure you are fully aware of all of your legal rights as you work through the process.

Source: The Spruce, "U.S. Child Support Statistics," Jennifer Wolf, accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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