Title

Key Determinants of a Mother's Decision to File for Child Support

Publication Date

1-1-2002

Document Type

Article

Abstract

About one-third of custodial mothers choose not to pursue a child support award even though it can be a significant source of income. A qualitative study was conducted with 43 mothers who have each had at least one child in a nonmarital relationship, to learn more about how mothers make the decision to file or not file for child support. The findings indicate that a key determinant in a mother's decision is the quality of her relationship with the father: a mother is less likely to file when the relationship is good and more likely to file when the relationship is poor or has ended. Other key determinants are family influence and availability of information about filing. Visitation was not found to influence these decisions. Unfortunately, mothers are often making their decisions without access to accurate and timely information. Social workers frequently are employed in settings that serve families faced with decisions about child support, and have numerous opportunities for intervention by providing both information and guidance about the decision.

Publication Title

Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services

Volume

83

Issue

2

First Page

153

Last Page

162

DOI

10.1606/1044-3894.33

Version

pre-print, post-print

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