Supporting children born outside of marriage: Do child support awards keep pace with changes in fathers' incomes?
D. R. Meyer
Many children born to mothers who are not married are very poor, and in many instances their mothers do not receive child support. Some excuse this by asserting that the fathers of these children do not and never will earn enough to pay adequate support. But the records of paternity cases that came to court in Wisconsin between 1980 and 1988 show that half of the fathers aged twenty-five and older had incomes over $10,000. More important, the men who had the lowest incomes when they became fathers--such men were usually teenagers--were the ones whose incomes increased the most over the years. Even so, the records reveal that there was no relationship between changes in the incomes of the fathers and changes in the amounts of child support awards, a situation the Family Support Act of 1988 is seeking to rectify.
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