CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – For parents who receive child support, the additional income can mean the difference between having food on the table or not.
With inflation making life more expensive and the extra income being crucial, a study by Lendingtree found that West Virginia ranks 7th among states where parents who receive child support rely on it most.
Teams from LendingTree analyzed data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the U.S. Census Bureau to better understand how much parents receive in child support and where parents rely on it most. Here are some of the findings they made:
- West Virginia ranks 7th among states where parents who receive child support rely on it most, with parents receiving an average of $5,354 in child support. This makes up 14.4% of their income.
- Nationwide, 7.4% of U.S. households with children younger than 18 have someone receiving child support. Parents who receive child support report getting an average of $5,743 annually. The average personal income among Americans who get child support is $49,359, which means 11.6% comes from child support.
- Parents who receive child support report getting an average of $5,743 annually. The average personal income among Americans who get child support is $49,359, which means 11.6% comes from child support.
- Parents who get child support rely on it the most in Hawaii, Nevada and North Carolina. In these states, child support accounts for 25.1%, 19.8% and 19.2% of recipients’ personal income, respectively. These percentages are lowest in Washington (7.3%), Ohio (8.2%) and South Carolina (8.5%).
- 7.4% of U.S. households with children younger than 18 have someone receiving child support. Mississippi (16.6%), Ohio (12.8%), New Hampshire and Wyoming (both 11.5%) are highest, while Connecticut (4.1%), California (4.2%), Maryland (4.4%) and Arizona (4.6%) are lowest.
- Parents who owe child support report paying an average of $7,906 a year. The average personal income among Americans required to pay child support is $70,395, which means 11.2% of that goes to child support.
- Child support payers in the District of Columbia, Maine and Oklahoma use the biggest share of their personal income toward payments. Child support takes up the smallest amount of personal income, on average, in Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia.
What is clear is that it’s important to do whatever you can to make your child support payments. Beyond causing potential financial problems for the custodian of your child, failing to make court-ordered child support payments can result in fines, damage to your credit score and other serious consequences, which vary by state.
Here are some things to consider if you’re struggling to make child support payments:
- Evaluate your budget: Look for anywhere you can cut costs. There’s almost always room to cinch your spending to meet your obligations. There are various budgeting strategies and online tools that can help.
- Find another source of income: Whether it’s picking up extra hours at your current job or finding a side hustle, try to find a way to bring in extra income. Get creative and resourceful and see how you might be able to increase your earnings.
- Consolidate your debt: If you have multiple debts, consider a debt consolidation loan. Rolling all your debt into one loan — with hopefully more favorable terms — can often free up some cash as well.
- Be ready to make sacrifices: “Difficult times require difficult choices, and if you’re struggling to make your child support payments, sitting on your hands and doing nothing shouldn’t be an option,” Schulz says. “Sometimes the required sacrifices are small, such as canceling a gym membership or a streaming service. Other times, it may be more significant, such as moving someplace with significantly lower rent. Your circumstances will dictate your choices to a degree, but it is important to do something.”