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Child support payments, paternal time with children linked

Fathers in North Carolina who do not pay child support might also spend less time with their children. This includes everyday activities such as helping children with their homework. Those fathers are also less likely to offer in-kind items such as medicine or clothes.

Children whose parents receive child support payments regularly tend to do better academically, and the support can also be important to ensuring that they have adequate food and shelter. The study found that fathers who fall behind on support tend to be less educated, may have been incarcerated and may have children by more than one partner. These fathers also tend to work less. The father's mental health and the relationship between the parents may also correlate with how regularly support is paid. The study reported that nearly one-third of fathers owed $7,705.

Nearly 5,000 families from 20 different cities participated in the study. It looked at the families over a period of nine years and used the support and contact from the father in the child's ninth year.

Throughout the country in 2015, more than $32 billion was paid in child support. Custodial fathers received about three-quarters of the child support they were due while custodial mothers received just over two-thirds.

Negotiating child custody and support can be a difficult aspect of divorce, but parents should endeavor to put the best interests of the child first just as a judge would. This means that even though they might struggle with the idea of their child not living with them full time, they should keep in mind that children usually benefit from having a relationship with both parents. Parents who are concerned about the other parent's fitness to care for the child or issues around abuse or addiction may want to discuss those issues with an attorney.

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