University of Wisconsin–Madison
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How are Child Support Burdens Related to Child Support Payments, Compliance, and Regularity?

Many noncustodial parents struggle to meet their child support obligations and, in a given year, less than half of custodial parents with a child support order receive full payments. In earlier research, we examined how child support order levels are related to child support payments. We found that more burdensome orders (i.e. orders that constitute a higher proportion of the noncustodial parent’s income) led to more child support paid, but lower rates of compliance (i.e. the amount of child support paid as a proportion of the amount owed), and less regular payments (i.e. paying each month). With an aim to update previous results, the current report uses information from pairs of noncustodial fathers and custodial mothers whose orders began in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to examine how child support burdens are related to child support payments, compliance, and regularity. Our results suggest that those with higher burdens generally pay more child support, but pay a lower proportion of the total support owed, and less regularly. We provide more detailed estimates of the relationship between order burden and payments, compliance and regularity, and discuss the implications of the results for child support policy.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Economic Support, Financial Security, Orders & Payments, WI Administrative Data Core


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