Child Support Statistics: Myths, legends and the American Way: Deadbeat dads The "deadbeat dad" craze has allowed the blame of several social ills, from poverty to welfare costs to social pathology, to be placed squarely in the laps of fathers.
(Summary: 62% of custodial mothers do not receive child support. However, of that number, three-fourths of them simply do not want child support, have not asked for it, have accepted other financial arrangements instead of child support, or the father does not have the money. Only 11% of those custodial mothers who do not receive child support, is because of "deadbeat dads".)
The "deadbeat dad" craze has allowed the blame of several social ills, from poverty to welfare costs to social pathology, to be placed squarely in the laps of fathers. When we view government data that 6.2 million single mothers do not receive child support, we cringe in disbelief, and wonder how those dads could be so heartless to their children. How can those fathers just walk away from their responsibilities?
Or, perhaps there is another story to be told? Examining the data closer reveals a much different picture of why things are the way they are. It suggests that the severe draconian measures placed to enforce child support are no more than knee-jerk reactions which are oppressing a whole class of people to punish a few. When the reasons for custodial mothers not receiving child support, or not even having a child support order to begin with, are examined, it becomes clear that "deadbeat dads" are a rarity, and the current policies in place will never work.
Of those custodial mothers who do not receive child support, almost 30% of them either simply do not want child support, or have never asked for it. These are not the cases of dads willfully neglecting their children; it's a case of the mother not wanting the child support or not asking for it to begin with. Some of these dads don't even know that they are dads! Some of these mothers receive informal support from the father, and do not wish to get involved with the government and child support enforcement. In almost 25% of the cases, the father simply cannot afford to pay child support. Now, keep in mind that this data was determined by asking the custodial mother why she is not receiving child support. These are not dads who are hiding assets and crying poor. The custodial mothers have admitted that one-quarter of the dads do not pay child support because they do not have the money.