Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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Single-parent households more likely to be in poverty

Georgia children who are born to unmarried parents usually remain in households led by a single mom or dad. Though a small percentage of these children's parents will either get married or continue to live together, most of the unmarried parents will part ways. While growing up in single-parent homes, children of unmarried parents are about three times more likely to be impoverished than children with married parents.

Parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support to their children whether or not they live with them. When an absent parent contributes financially to their child's upbringing, the child may experience fewer negative consequences of poverty. The federal Child Support Enforcement Program was set up to ensure that children of unmarried parents have access to financial support from both of their parents.

After the program was strengthened in 1996, more absent parents began contributing to their children's upbringings. Research has shown that when single-parent families receive child support, the children benefiting from the child support have better outcomes. Children are also more likely to have contact with their noncustodial parent when the noncustodial parent is making child support payments. The absence of child support has been linked to increased stress for the custodial parent.

When a noncustodial parent is not making child support payments, the custodial parent may want to take legal action to enforce the child support order. An attorney might help a custodial parent to alert the local child support office about the situation as well as the court that issued the order. If the noncustodial parent continues to avoid those obligations, the child support order could be enforced with wage garnishment or other measures such as an interception of a federal tax refund.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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