Noncustodial fathers in California and throughout the country who are behind in child support are also less likely to see their children as often as fathers who do. A study that appeared in the Journal of Marriage and Family examined families over a period of nine years. It found that fathers in arrears also work less often, had lower levels of education and were more likely to have been incarcerated. They also tended to help out their children less with purchases of things like toys and clothes. The fathers who were behind in the study owed more than $7,000 on average.
Parents paid more than $32 billion in child support in 2015. For parents who do not pay support, there are a number of both civil and criminal penalties. According to the census bureau in 2016, nearly 68 percent of the child support owed to mothers was paid while almost 75 percent of the support owed to fathers was paid.
Child support is not just critical for a child’s physical well-being. One study from the late 1990s linked children’s academic achievements with the regular receipt of child support.
Child support is calculated based on several factors including a parent’s income. If necessary, a parent can request a modification of support for a number of reasons. In California, incarceration is included among these reasons if the parent does not have the income or assets to maintain the previous support level. However, even though the study shows less parental involvement when support has lapsed, keeping a child from seeing the parent as a result of not paying child support is not permitted. Parents who have a legal child support plan in place can go through the child support enforcement agency, and the agency can take steps to enforce payment.