Child support outcomes can vary greatly

The child support situation can vary greatly for people in Michigan and across the United States depending on the financial circumstances of both parents and the specific needs of a child. When people are considering divorce, child support can be a major financial factor to think about in planning for the future. In addition, many parents, especially those who were never married, deal with child support issues differently.

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks child support payments for custodial parents. These statistics attempt to create a national picture of how many single parents have a formal or informal child support order, how much money is owed monthly and how much is actually received. Across the country, there are around 13.4 million single parents with custody across the country, but less than half of them have a legal or informal child support payment plan in place. Only 48.7 percent of all single parents have a child support agreement, and of those, 89.8 percent are formal agreements ordered through family law court orders or a state agency. Another 10 percent have informal agreements arranged between the two parents.

The amount of child support paid can vary greatly from family to family. On average, each single parent with a child support plan in place is owed approximately $5,774 per year, an average of less than $500 each month. Across the country, $32.9 billion dollars of child support payments were owed in 2013.

When parents separate, there can be a number of important issues to be addressed for the children's future, from child custody to child support. A family law attorney may help divorcing or separating parents protect their rights and their relationship with their child as they work to achieve a fair outcome in family court.