Another Victim of the Recession: Child Support
(Daily Finance) — Child support payments in the U.S. fell in 2009 for first time in more than three decades, and while the official government report for fiscal 2010 won’t be out for months, it’s likely that it, too, saw that downward trend continue. While the states have increased their ability to collect support on behalf of custodial parents by garnishing wages or unemployment checks, those gains have been more than offset by declines caused by high unemployment and the growing ability of noncustodial parents to get court-ordered payment reductions. State and federal governments collected $26.4 billion in child-support payments for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2009, down 0.7% from a year earlier, according to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. The decrease was the first since such records began being kept in 1976. Payments average about $250 a month nationwide.