Research shows that stronger child support enforcement increases the amount of formal support received by children from their nonresident fathers. Yet, little is known about: 1) the informal cash and non-cash contributions that nonresident fathers make--especially to nonmarital children, 2) the effect of child support enforcement on these types of contributions, and 3) most importantly, the effect of child support enforcement on total (formal plus informal) child support contributions. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that strong enforcement reduces the amount of informal support, increases the amount of formal support, and most importantly, has no effect on the total amount of support received by unwed mothers. The effects on total payments are negative for parents who stopped cohabiting recently and positive for parents who never cohabited or stopped cohabiting three or more years ago. Implications for policy hinge upon future research. (Author abstract)
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