Mothers Fail to Pay Child Support at a Higher Rate than Fathers

Mothers Fail to Pay Child Support at a Higher Rate than Fathers

The “deadbeat dad” is an image that has been imprinted on us for generations. In fact, when most people hear that someone isn’t paying child support, they automatically assume that it is the child’s father. However, according to an interview aired on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, non-custodial mothers are more likely to become delinquent on their child support payments than non-custodial fathers.

According to the subject of the interview, Mona Chalabi of ( is a web property of ABC News), while one in four non-custodial fathers fails to pay child support, among non-custodial mothers, the ratio is one in three. This is a significant disparity. Ms. Chalabi also states that, “moms are more likely than dads to get at least some of the child support that they’re due,” although the disparity here is less substantial. As for an explanation, Ms. Chalabi speculates:

“[C]ustodial dads have a much higher average household income than custodial moms . . . their average household income is $52,000 compared to about $26,000 for custodial moms. And they’re half as likely to [be] living in poverty. So[,] one possible explanation we can draw from that is that these dads that have a higher income might be less likely to be pursuing child-support payments from the noncustodial mothers.”

Interestingly, this seems to suggest that the number of mothers who fail to pay child support could be even higher. But, fathers are simply less likely to be in a financial situation where they need to enforce their former spouses’ child support obligations.

What If Your Ex-Wife Is Not Paying Child Support?

If your ex-wife is not paying child support, you should not let her off of the hook simply because you have the financial means to support your children independently. Under New Jersey law, both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children. You can – and should – enforce your right to payment, and there are clear procedures for doing so in the New Jersey courts.

While you can turn to the New Jersey Child Support Division (NJCSD) to find more information about your rights as a custodial father, in order to enforce your former wife’s obligation to pay child support, you will need to speak with an attorney. The NJCSD can only provide you with general information and answers that are non-legal in nature.

An experienced New Jersey family law attorney will be able to determine what options you have available, attempt to reach an amicable resolution if possible, and go to court if necessary in order to enforce your right to payment. Remedies that you may have available include:

  • Garnishing your ex-wife’s wages;
  • Intercepting your ex-wife’s tax refunds;
  • Seizing your ex-wife’s assets;
  • Having your ex-wife’s name recorded in the New Hires Directory so that you can be notified when she finds a job; and,
  • Seeking to have your ex-wife’s driver’s license or professional license suspended in order to induce her to pay child support.

Critically, one remedy that is not available is to deny your ex-wife access to your children. This is a situation where two wrongs do not make a right. Even if your ex-wife is severely behind on her child support payments, you must continue to follow your parenting plan unless and until you obtain a formal modification of parenting rights from the New Jersey Courts.

Speak with a New Jersey Family Lawyer Today

If your ex-wife is not paying child support and you would like more information about your legal rights, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a confidential initial case evaluation at our family law offices in Hackensack, NJ, please call 201-654-4263 or contact us online today.

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