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Most single parents do not receive child support

Less than half of single parents entitled to child support regularly receive payments from their former spouse, revealing the need for state intervention, according to government data Thursday.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family surveyed 483 single parents legally entitled to receive child support over the course of three years. Women made up nearly 98 percent of the single parents in the survey.

Unlike the child support systems in the U.S. and England where government agencies collect the money, payments in Korea are dealt with personally by former couples, allowing many former spouses to neglect payments simply because “they didn’t feel like it.”

In the survey, 270 parents replied that they were receiving child support from their former partners, however further questioning revealed that over 23 percent received irregular payments and over 29 percent had stopped receiving payments altogether.

Among those questioned, 169 single parents entitled to child support said they had not received payments from their counterparts, 46 percent said that their former spouses intentionally neglected to send payments, 20 percent had lost contact, and 4 percent simply gave up requesting money because of threats and verbal assault from their former companions.

Only 19 percent of the former spouses were unable to pay because of financial reasons, leading researchers to believe that a better system needs to be implemented in order to ensure regular child support.

More than 64 percent of single parents were ruled by the court to receive 300,000 won ($269) or less, despite the 516,000 won average monthly cost of raising a child.

Also included in the survey were questions on methods of collecting and distributing child support. Over 96 percent of the participants would like the government to act as an intermediary, collecting from spouses and distributing the money to the single parents.

Ministry officials said the government was concerned by the study’s results, and said they are preparing plans to ensure the implementation of child support.

By Robert Lee (
Korea Herald daum