The following excerpts are from Vicki Turetsky, Federal Commissioner, Office of Child Support Enforcement:
“Most child support debt is owed by parents who do not have sufficient income to fully pay their child support orders. Most debt is held by parents with less than $10,000 in reported income. An Urban Institute study of California child support arrears found that:
- 80 percent of unpaid child support debt is owed by parents with less than $15,000 net income.
- Over half of the arrears are owed by debtors with less than $10,000 income but more than $20,000 in debt.
- Only 1 percent of child support debtors have net incomes over $50,000.
- 70 percent of the arrears are owed to the government—to repay welfare costs—rather than to families.
- 27 percent of the debt is unpaid interest.
Conclusion: The actual choice facing policymakers is between chasing after nonexistent or sporadic payments now and developing the potential for steady support over the long haul.”
Source: pages 3 and 4 of “Staying in Jobs and Out of the Underground: Child Support Policies that Encourage Legitimate Work” by Vicki Turetsky, Center for Law and Social policy (CLASP) Child Support Series March 2007, Brief No. 2.