The Los Angeles Times reports that more than $14 billion in child support was left unpaid to American parents in a single year — more than 1 out of every 3 dollars that were due, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Millions of parents are awarded child support every year, but getting it is another story. Fewer than half of eligible parents received all of the child support they were due in 2011. About a quarter got none.
Most parents were granted support through formal legal agreements established by the courts or other government entities. Yet a shrinking share of parents said they asked the government for help collecting child support. Between 1994 and 2012, the number of parents who sought such help fell by about a quarter, even though Census Bureau data show relatively little change in the number of parents getting all the money they are owed. Scholars and advocates believe some parents have given up trying.