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Fathers behind on child support see children less often

Most Texas parents want to spend as much time with their children as possible. However, a new study finds that fathers who are delinquent on their child support payments are less likely to see their kids. The study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in February.

For the study, researchers from nonprofit organization Child Trends and Cornell University looked at data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, which polled nearly 5,000 urban parents over a period of nine years. They found that more than 30 percent of the fathers in the study were behind on their child support payments by an average of $7,705. They also found that delinquent dads worked less often, were more likely to have spent time in jail and were more likely to have kids with multiple partners.

As for paternal involvement, fathers behind on child support spent an average of three fewer days with their children each month. They were also less likely to be involved in daily activities like helping with homework or playing outdoors. The study found that a father's relationship with a child's mother, his mental health and the number of weeks he worked all impacted his parental involvement and child support history. American parents paid a total of $32.4 billion in child support in 2015, according to the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Mothers or fathers facing divorce may benefit by contacting a family law attorney. An attorney could protect a parent's rights throughout the divorce process and help negotiate agreements on child custody, child support, visitation and other important legal issues.

Source: Journalist's Resource, "Fathers see their kids less often if they owe child support," Denise-Marie Ordway, Feb. 17, 2017

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