Child support obligations and low-income fathers

Chien Chung Huang, Ronald B. Mincy, Irwin Garfinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Using the 1994-1998 waves of the Current Population Survey - Child Support Supplement (N =5,387), the aims of this study are to document child support obligation rates of nonresident fathers, to examine the effect of the obligation rate on child support compliance, and to calculate the trade-off between fathers' financial responsibility and children's well-being, paying particular attention to low-income fathers. The results indicate that low-income fathers have high child support obligation rates, which significantly reduce their child support compliance. Although lowering the obligation rate for these fathers may improve their compliance, it does not fully offset the lowered obligation amounts and leads to a 30% net payment loss for welfare mothers and a 43% loss for nonwelfare mothers. Policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1225
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Child support compliance
  • Child support obligation
  • Child support order
  • Low-income fathers


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