Virginia couples may not know that almost 40 percent of children are born to unmarried parents around the country every year. Only a small portion of the newborn children will live with both of their parents.
Children who reside in a household with a single unmarried parent are three times more likely to be poor than the children who reside with married parents. One of the contributing factors is that single-parent households generally have just one stream of income, and because of the lower education levels, they also tend to earn less than married parents. The lack of a second parent in the household can present multiple parenting and financial challenges.
Compelling absent parents to contribute financially to their children can lessen the economic hardship of single-parent households. The parents who are least likely to receive financial support from the other parent of his or her child are single parents with a low income and who have never been married.
The federal Child Support Enforcement Program was established to make sure that children are able to benefit from financial support from both of their parents. When it was strengthened in 1996, there was an increase in the number of absent parents who contributed financially and children who were being raised by single parents benefited from an increase in resources. However, since that time, the reach of the program has declined.
An attorney who practices family law may assist a client in resolving the contested issues pertaining to a divorce, including child support. Counsel may advocate for clients on either side of the child support issue. The attorney may work to obtain the appropriate amount child support for a client or may work to ensure that a client is paying the fair amount according to the client's income.