Child Support and Custody for Unmarried Parents

Involving dads in the lives of children born out of wedlock, By Sarah Breitenbach, September 29, 2016, Stateline: “When an unmarried couple with children breaks up, it is often a matter of packing boxes, divvying up property, and maybe getting an order for child support from a local court.  Unlike a divorcing couple, their split is not typically guided by legal standards that dictate how much money they owe each other, or how much time they get to spend with their kids once they separate. And, particularly for unmarried fathers, that lack of legal oversight can mean a long fight for custody of their children.  States are starting to more closely examine custody arrangements for children born out of marriage, which have traditionally favored mothers, either by law or default, to give fathers a greater role in raising their children. Studies indicate that consistent paternal involvement can result in more child-support payments, and better mental health and academic results for the children…”

Low-Income Families and Taxes

  • For nontraditional families, the tax code can be especially confusing, By Yuki Noguchi, April 7, 2016, National Public Radio: “The TV and a cellphone are playing videos, as Trevor Franklin tries to quiet a brood of kids in the living room of the apartment he shares with his fiancée in southeast Washington, D.C. ‘TJ is mine, and Malik and Morgan are my stepkids,’ Franklin says. A 14-year-old stepdaughter is on her way home from school, and his pregnant fiancée is on bed rest with a fifth child. The Census Bureau says about 41 percent of children are born to mothers who aren’t married, about five times the rate in the 1940s. But they aren’t all single parents. A growing percentage of babies born out of wedlock have parents who live together…”
  • Philadelphia wants low-income residents to take tax credit, By Katie Colaneri, March 30, 2016, Marketplace: “Even before Tax Day,  Philadelphia resident Roslyn Sanders is ahead of the game. She’s at her local community development corporation getting her taxes done and it’s the second time she’s come here. Sanders is back because last year, the organization helped her and her husband, Donald get a big refund by figuring out they qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. She said they got a check in the mail for more than $3,000…”
  • Editorial: Tax code should work for all low-income Americans, Editorial, April 5, 2016, Des Moines Register: “Conservatives have never met a tax cut they didn’t like. Liberals have never met a government handout they didn’t support. So Republicans and Democrats in U.S. Congress should be able to unite behind President Barack Obama’s proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC, created in 1975, is intended to provide additional dollars to low-income Americans and promote employment. To qualify, people must meet income and other requirements, as well as file a tax return. The credit increases as an individual’s income increases, thereby encouraging people to enter the workforce or work more. Because it is refundable, it puts money directly into people’s pockets to spend…”

Childbearing Trends

3 charts that show America’s poverty problems start at birth, By Danielle Kurtzelben, July 9, 2014, Vox: “A new Census report confirms a few longstanding childbearing trends: women are having children more and more outside of marriage, and more educated women tend to have children later. But it also shows something more surprising: the share of children born into poverty is large, and it may be getting worse. In 2012, more than one in four women having kids — nearly 28 percent — were living in poverty that year. That’s up markedly from 2008, when the share was only 25 percent. By comparison, only around 15 percent of Americans were in poverty altogether that year. . .”