Parents in Arizona might sometimes be amazed by how expensive raising a child seems; the Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion actually did the math to figure out the cost. Raising a child to full adulthood in the U.S. can cost nearly $250,000. This might sound like an overwhelming number to most parents, particularly custodial parents who raise children by themselves and rely on child support.
According to the 2013 Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support report, around 22.1 million children under 21 years old lived with only one parent. Of the 13.4 million custodial single parents, 82.5 percent or five out of six parents were women.
Those with physical custody of children often seek support from the noncustodial parent in order to make enough money to care for them. However, only 48.7 percent of single parents had financial agreements like court orders in place with the other parent. Parents who had child support arrangements still faced problems as only 45.6 percent of 5.7 million families received all the payments they were due in 2013; 28.6 percent of families received partial payments.
Child support can be difficult whether one is supposed to make or receive payments, but it is important for parents to discuss this issue when dissolving a marriage or making a parenting plan for a child. Custodial parents who have an unofficial arrangement for child support may wish to go to court for this and other family law matters because this could save time later if a noncustodial parent stops abiding by an agreement. If a noncustodial parent has trouble meeting a court ordered support amount, he or she may ask for a modification.