Custody, Access and Child Support: Findings from The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth


Regularity of Child Support Payments by Type of Child Support Agreement and Type of Parental Separation

Unfortunately, the question concerning the regularity of child support payments was not asked in cases where the parent stated that no agreement existed regarding support payments. In future cycles, it would be important to collect this information from all respondents since it is likely that, although no formal agreement was made, the fathers might nonetheless contribute to the costs of raising their children.

Table 14 shows that, in general, more children who are covered by what their parents describe as a private agreement receive regular support payments than children whose parents say they have a court-ordered agreement. Two thirds of children under private agreements benefited from regular support payments, compared to 43 percent of children whose parents stated they had a court-ordered agreement. Moreover, cases where there have been no payments in the last six months are much more common where the parents said there was a court order than where support payments are dealt with through a private agreement (30 percent vs. 14 percent).

Table 14: Type of Support Agreement and Regularity of Payments, According to Type of Broken Union--NLSCY, Cycle 1, 1994-1995

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This trend holds true regardless of the type of broken union. For children whose parents were married and made a private agreement regarding child support, the data show a high proportion (73 percent) of regular payers and only 8 percent of cases where payments had not been made for the last six months. In the case of broken common-law unions, the proportion of cases in which there had not been a payment in the last six months is much higher, regardless of whether there was a private agreement between the spouses (24 percent), or whether a court order was in place (45 percent). But the most significant result is that agreements that parents described as private resulted in more regular payments than cases where a court order was in place or was in progress.