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The Regularity of Child Support and Its Contribution to the Regularity of Income

Using detailed administrative records for custodial mothers in the couples who had their first child support orders in Wisconsin in 2000, the authors analyzed child support receipts over the subsequent five years. They were particularly interested in whether child support was a regular source of income and in whether child support contributed to reducing the irregularity of income of custodial-parent families.

The authors show that in the first year, although 86 percent of mothers with child support orders receive some support, only 49 percent receive support during at least 10 months, and only 43 percent receive a regular amount of support for at least 10 months. The proportion of mothers with regular receipt does not change substantially over time. They also find that child support contributes a critical part of income for many custodial-parent families.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Family Income, Orders & Payments


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