Moms Can Be Deadbeats Too
Single dads are sick and tired of being labeled "deadbeats" when it comes to paying child support. And data suggest they have good reason to be upset.
The percentage of "deadbeat" moms is actually higher than that of dads who won't pay, even though mothers are more consistently awarded custody of children by the courts.
Census figures show only 57 percent of moms required to pay child support -- 385,000 women out of a total of 674,000 -- give up some or all of the money they owe. That leaves some 289,000 "deadbeat" mothers out there, a fact that has barely been reported in the media.
That compares with 68 percent of dads who pay up, according to the figures.
But men also still pay much more in child support. The Census Bureau last month also released numbers showing fathers paid an average of $3,000 to custodial moms in 1997. Women paid little over half that. Moms also get about 60 percent of what they are owed, whereas dads only get 48 percent.
"A lot of men are afraid to ask for child support simply because they think if they’re asking for child support, they won’t get a chance to get custody," Henry said.
But more moms that don’t have the kids simply can’t afford to pay child support since they are poorer, said Geraldine Jensen, president of the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support. Studies show the average income for non-custodial moms is only $15,000 a year, whereas non-custodial dads average about $40,000 a year.
And moms who don’t have custody of the kids often remarry and have more kids, and often choose to not work.
But "that’s certainly no excuse," Jensen said. "It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom or dad, you should meet your child support obligations."