Impact of Welfare Reform on the Child Support Receipt of Divorced Custodial Parents

Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, University of Chicago

This paper uses data from the 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, and 2001 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine whether there are differential child support payment trends among divorced custodial mothers and fathers in the pre- and post-welfare reform period. Welfare reform brought about changes in child support enforcement that increased collection efforts, primarily for never-married single mothers. This paper examines if increased collection efforts also influenced payment of child support to divorced custodial parents. I find that the probability of child support receipt by custodial parents who divorced prior to welfare reform is 10 percentage points lower than that of those who divorced after. No differences were found in the amount of support received for all custodial parents; however, conditional on receipt of any support, those who divorced prior to welfare reform received $68 more per month than those who divorced after.

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Presented in Session 107: Child Support