For many single parents in Ohio, child support can be critical to covering the basic educational and medical needs of their children. These funds often help parents to make ends meet, and contrary to stories about high-profile celebrity cases, the funds that they receive are often the bare minimum. The U.S. Census Bureau tracks facts about child support across the country, and the results may be surprising to many. Among the statistics maintained by the bureau are the number of single parents receiving child support, how much is owed and how much is actually paid each year.

While there are 13.4 million single parents with custody of their children across the country, only a minority receive child support payments. Less than half of them – 48.7 percent – have a child support agreement in place with the non-custodial parent. Of the parents who do receive child support, the vast majority have formalized their agreement through the family courts or a state agency.

Both single mothers and single fathers receive child support. In 2013, 52.3 percent of single mothers with custody were awarded child support, and 31.4 percent of single fathers with custody were awarded support. While the average child support order requires a payment of approximately $500 per month, only a portion of these payments are made fully each month. Of the 6.5 million single parents with child support orders, 45.6 received their full payments each month. On the other hand, 28.5 percent received partial payments while 25.9 percent received nothing at all.

Child support can be absolutely critical to providing key opportunities and satisfying major needs of the children, including health insurance, school fees, clothing and sports equipment. A family law attorney might be able to work with a single parent to have a child support order established and to pursue enforcement in the case of an ongoing problem with non-payment.