As a family law firm that has been around awhile, we see a lot of unique situations concerning children. We know that good parenting comes equally from mothers and fathers. We also understand that questionable behavior may come from fathers or mothers – it’s not an issue with only dads or only moms.
Occasionally, a client will cite a statistic he or she has heard to help illustrate his or her position in a situation. One example:
“I’ve heard that the percentage of moms who fail to fulfill any child support obligations is higher than dads who fail to fulfill child support.”
Is the statistic true? Technically, yes. In the most recent figures from 2011, 32 percent of custodial dads received no court-ordered child support while 25 percent of mothers did not receive their child support obligations they were owed. However, anyone who has witnessed a political campaign battle knows that you can extrapolate an isolated statistic to support just about any position.
If you delve deeper and put the statistic in context, you will find that it has a different meaning. The average household income of a father who does not receive owed child support obligations is approximately $52,000, while mothers in this situation only have about $26,000 in household income. About 32 percent of custodial mothers live below the poverty line, for custodial fathers that figure is 16 percent.
One thing we have learned, you should never make family law matters a gender issue. In today’s world, many mothers are the breadwinners and many fathers are excellent stay-at-home dads. Arizona law desires for each parent to be as evenly involved in their child’s life as possible.
And, of course, failing to fulfill child support obligations is not a male trait or a female trait.