Over $5 billion in child support went unpaid in 1989 alone. One fourth of the 10 million custodial mothers eligible for child support are currently married. This study uses both reports of child support payment from noncustodial fathers and reports of child support receipt made by custodial mothers to examine the impact of current marital status on the payment of child support. The data are from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Findings indicate that if either parent is currently married, less child support is paid. Policy implications depend upon how this result is interpreted. Noncompliance with a child support award indicates increased award enforcement is needed. Underlying the compliance issue, however, is how to distribute parental incomes equitably after second families are formed.

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