California parents may be interested to know that the results of a study indicate that fathers who do not reside with their children and who owe back child support tend to spend less time with their children. They are also more likely to have children with multiple partners and work fewer weeks in a year. Children depend on child support payments for food, housing and clothes. Research has shown that child support tends to be common factor in children who demonstrate high academic achievement.

The study’s researchers wanted to explore the link between father involvement and child support debt. The researchers claim that their study is one of the first to use national data to ascertain if fathers who do not live with their children tend to spend less time with them and provide in-kind support.

The data was obtained from a survey of 4,897 urban families who had children born between 1998 and 2000. The focus was on data related to paternal involvement and child support when the children were 9 years old.

The results showed that over 30 percent of fathers owed an average of $7,705 in past due support. The delinquent fathers also tended to work less often than fathers who were not behind in their payments. There appeared to be three factors that explained the low rate of paternal participation and back child support. This included the father’s mental health, how many working weeks he had in a year and the quality of his relationship with his child’s mother.

There are many noncustodial parents who become unable to meet their child support obligations due to reasons beyond their control, such as a medical emergency or an unexpected loss of a job. An attorney can often be of assistance to such a parent in seeking a modification of the original court order to lower the monthly payment amount.