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From 1970 to 1981, the number of divorces in the United States more than doubled, and the number of children living with one parent increased by fifty-four percent, to a total of 12.6 million children, or one child in five. The great majority of these children have a living noncustodial parent from whom they are entitled to receive support payrents. Thus, approximately twenty percent of the nation's children are involved- at least potentially-in the child support system. Yet, despite its growing reach, the child support system remains in many ways primitive and inchoate. Award amounts are inadequate to pay for even half the cost of childrearing. Wide disparities exist in the standards utilized to set the amounts, leading to a general public perception that the system is irrational. Procedures for the enforcement of support orders range from adequate to nonexistent.

Publication Citation

6 Harv. Womens L. J. 1-27