The term “deadbeat dad” has become well-known all over the country, applying to fathers who simply bail on their children and never pay what they owe in child support. Perhaps because of the alliteration or perhaps because fathers are stereotypically assumed to be the ones paying support and not caring for the children, the term has stuck.
It’s also stuck for a reason: One study found that 25.1 percent of mothers with custody of their kids never got child support. That means that a court order was handed down, legally awarding them support, and they were never paid. Ever.
It’s a frustrating situation for mothers, who often have few options to make ends meet financially on their own. Even when they work full time or work multiple jobs, they’re in a financial bind trying to both take care of and pay for the kids alone.
However, fathers are sometimes awarded custody and mothers are ordered to pay support. When that happens, the study found that a full 32 percent of those men never got any payments from the mothers. While there may be fewer women who are in this position, the percentage of deadbeat mothers is actually higher than the percentage of deadbeat dads.
The most important thing to take away from this is that both genders can be ordered to pay and both genders can and do fail in that obligation. Don’t always assume that the stereotypes are true. When this happens, it’s incredibly important for the other parents — regardless of gender — to know all of their legal options to enforce those support orders.
Source: FiveThirtyEight, “Are Moms Less Likely Than Dads To Pay Child Support?,” Mona Chalabi, accessed Feb. 23, 2018