Poor Fathers who Can’t Afford Child Support Aren’t Necessarily Dead Beat Dads

by Rachel Baker on June 18, 2015

With Father’s Day a few days away, I think this article is incredibly important. Maybe you can’t pay exactly what the court is requiring, but there are a million other things you can do that will help your kids see you as a good father.

Read More here: What it feels like to watch your kids grow up when you can’t pay child support

Less than a third of fathers who make poverty wages and don’t live with their children pay formal child support, a 2007 study found. These dads, however, may provide much more for their kids than research has previously revealed, Edin learned. Many provide in a different way, one that government agencies don’t often track.

“They don’t often don’t live with the mothers, and some don’t know when they’ll be able to see their child next,” said Edin, whose findings were published this month in the Journal of Marriage and Family. “So, they want to give the kids something to hold, a symbol of their love. Kids don’t know if the father pays the electricity bill, but they’ll know if the father brings food.”

In the United States, about one in four kids are due some child support. Only 62 percent, however, receive the full amount owed.

Edin’s team of researchers spent nearly a decade interviewing 367 fathers across racial backgrounds in neighborhoods more privileged Americans might describe as rough. They recorded every purchase the dads made for their kids, collecting receipts and price-checking at grocery stores.

Only twenty-three percent of the fathers paid support through the court system, offering a monthly average of $38.

But nearly half contributed “in-kind” support to a child, or items instead of cash, spending an average of $60 each month, per child, on different goods: formula, Pampers, strollers, Air Jordans. Out of these fathers, about 16 percent contributed no formal child support payments, making them “dads who would traditionally be considered ‘deadbeat,'” the authors noted. They gave $63 per child a month through in-kind support.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin. You can also follow her writing about women veteran interests at Shield Sisters

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: