Understanding the Relationship between Formal and Informal Child Support: Evidence from Fragile Families Three-Year Data

Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Columbia University

In this paper, using 3-year data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey, we examine the relationship between fathers' formal and informal child support payments. Although there is a large body of research looking at the predictors of child support receipt and the effects of enforcement on fathers' payments, there has been scant empirical research focusing specifically on informal support, or, more importantly, on the interaction of formal and informal support. We examine the prevalence and the individual-level predictors of the two kinds of support. Finally, we compare the effects of child support enforcement on the probability of receiving each kind of support, controlling for a variety of parent, child, city and state characteristics.

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Presented in Session 56: Public Policy and the Family