After all the policy reform, is child support actually helping low-income mothers?

C. Skinner, D. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses whether child support payments (from all types of agreements, not just Child Support Agency assessments) are actually helping lone-mother families or whether most low-income mothers are connected to men who have little capacity to pay, so that child support actually helps only moderate-income families? This article uses data from the UK Families and Children Study to examine the receipt of child support by lone mothers across the income distribution. It examines the amounts of child support received and the contribution it makes to total income packages across two major groupings: lone-mother quintile groups and poverty groups. The study finds that lone mothers who are already relatively better off (compared with other lone mothers in the survey) are more likely to receive child support. However, lone mothers who receive child support tend to receive similar median amounts, regardless of their income levels. Moreover, child support is a more important part of the income package for lone mothers with low incomes than for those with higher incomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

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