If you are currently struggling financially or dislike the idea of giving money to your ex, you may feel tempted to withhold child support. At first glance, it may seem like your ex will suffer immensely for this decision. There is some truth to this, but whatever sufferings your ex encounters also affect your children.
U.S. News reports that children who live with unmarried parents are thrice as likely to suffer from poverty than children in nuclear homes with married parents. The primary reason for this is that children in single-parent homes may only receive financial support from one parent. More often than not, this parent is a woman. Women already have a much lower earning potential than men, especially women of color.
Parents who are less likely to receive support
Single parents of lower-income backgrounds who have never been married experience the greatest likelihood of not receiving adequate support. These parents also tend to have lower levels of education, which again affects the ability to get high-paying work. All of these factors increase the likelihood of children living in families with incomes below the poverty line.
When children are more likely to thrive
It goes without saying, but children with more access to resources tend to do better in life. Resources include not just financial contributions but a stable relationship with both parents. These children tend to grow up with fewer behavioral problems. This, in turn, lessens the likelihood of them falling into the wrong crowds and running afoul of the law.
There is no guarantee that paying child support keeps children out of trouble. Similarly, many of the children suffering in single-income homes live with highly educated mothers or fathers who were once married. Even so, when you pay child support, you at least help ensure your child has better access to resources necessary to live a happy and healthy life.