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How much child support goes unpaid?

Your ex has missed the last three child support payments. There's always an excuse, but you're fed up already. You need that money to take care of your child. The court ordered your ex to pay. It feels drastically unfair for him or her to hold that money back for any reason.

In your frustration, you start wondering if you're alone or if other parents deal with these same issues. How much child support goes unpaid in the United States?

The answer may surprise you. One study found that a staggering $108 billion was outstanding. That doesn't count whatever is still owed moving forward. That's just back payments that were never made. The data comes from the Office of Child Support Enforcement, a federal office.

Moreover, all of those missed payments are costing American taxpayers who have nothing to do with the situation. After all, many children don't have their immediate needs met when payments get missed. They need things like food and housing, and government benefits are often used to bridge the gap. The parents who missed the payments are supposed to get current and they're also supposed to pay reimbursements to the government.

While the majority of the $108 billion is owed to parents, it's a slim majority: Just 51 percent. The other 49 percent should go to the government to cover for the benefits taxpayers are forced to provide when parents don't pay for their own kids. That 49 percent clocks in at about $53 billion.

As you can see, you're certainly not alone. Nonpayment issues are common, and you need to know all of the legal options you have.

Source: CNN, "Deadbeat parents cost taxpayers $53 billion," Steve Hargreaves, accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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