Do single-parent households face greater risks of poverty?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2020 | Child Support |

In most child custody cases, women are the sole or primary custodial parent. Despite increasing participation in the workforce and the fact that women, on average, are more highly educated than men, women still make less money. This holds true even for women in high-paying fields, such as medicine, finance and law. Subsequently, most children from single-parent homes face an increased risk of financial instability compared to those in double-income households. 

When parents do not marry, the risks are even higher. U.S. News estimates that children living with unmarried parents have a three times greater risk of poverty than those residing with married parents. This is primarily because most children of unmarried parents live in single-family households and there are often greater complications when it comes to determining paternity and ensuring payment. 

How to lessen the economic stress 

The truth is that even children of divorced parents often do not receive child support in full and on time. Subsequently, when it comes to fighting the economic risk children face, the most obvious solution you can apply is to ensure payment of child support. 

If you are not the payor of child support, then this might prove easier said than done. However, pursuing available programs that enforce child support orders that lapse might offer some benefits. 

What to know about the Child Support Enforcement Program 

Roughly four decades ago, the U.S. government decided that parents who bring children into the world have a legal obligation to continue to support them. The Child Support Enforcement Program helped to make this possible. 

However, to enforce child support orders, one must first exist. Currently, less than half of eligible parents have a formal agreement in place for child support. This represents a decline from 2004 when a whopping 60% did. 

This is not all bad news, per se. Many people end marriages and other relationships amicably and come to an informal agreement that works. However, there are also many parents who have no such agreements and receive no support. Changing this could keep many more children out of poverty.