Robert G. Smith, PLLC
212-499-0940

New York non-custodial fathers and in-kind child support

Divorced New York parents may be interested in a 2015 study that examines the non-monetary contributions of so-called deadbeat dads. The 2011 Census report found that the same percentage of mothers and fathers who did not live with their children paid all support that was owed. A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that many fathers who do not pay child support in cash still make significant contributions. Nearly half of the fathers in the study who did not have cash resources to contribute nonetheless contributed food, baby products, clothing and school expenses.

One author and professor suggested that disadvantaged fathers are unfairly viewed as disconnected from their children when they actually make significant contributions. Among the 367 lower income fathers who were studied, only 23 percent paid court recognized child support. Another 46 percent contributed in-kind support, and 28 percent gave cash directly to the mother. The study found 66 fathers who gave no cash support to their children but did give $63 of in-kind support that would usually not be recognized in statistical reports.

Many sociologists have suggested that the child support system often results in fathers being denied access to their children until they pay what they owe according to a court agreement. The 2015 study found that fathers who did not visit their children gave roughly half the in-kind support as those who spent 10 or more hours with them each month. One researcher suggests that fathers link love and provision for their children in a way that support payments made directly to the mothers do not allow.

Navigating the guidelines set forth in the Child Support Standards Act can be difficult for both custodial and non-custodial parents. A family law attorney may be able to help a parent who is struggling to come to a fair child support agreement. An attorney may also be able to help with the process of renegotiating payments based on parental income if significant changes have occurred since the initial agreement was made.

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Robert G. Smith, PLLC
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