New child support regulations for prisoners

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

The obligation to pay child support does not stop once an individual becomes incarcerated. A survey conducted in 2010 reported that 51,000 federal prisoners had child support requirements, and 29,000 of those prisoners were delinquent on those payments. Incarcerated individuals in Illinois and the rest of the country may benefit from recent regulations issued by the Obama administration to curtail state policies that can result in substantial child support debts for prisoners.

The new regulations were created by the Administration for Children and Families and will mandate that prisoners are allowed the option of seeking to pay a lower amount of child support while they are incarcerated. The purpose of the regulation is to prevent inmates from having to struggle to repay large debts after they are released from prison, the failure of which could lead to re-incarceration. The rules are part of President Barack Obama’s effort to reform the criminal justice system in the United States and to provide released inmates improved chances at successfully reentering society.

As part of the new regulations, states will not be permitted to classify incarceration as voluntary unemployment, a policy that prohibited prisoners from changing any existing child support orders. The states would also have to notify both parents of the option to pursue changes to child support payments if either parent is incarcerated for more than six months.

It is uncertain if the changes will be contested by the incoming administration. There has been opposition from some Republican lawmakers who assert that the new regulations will result in parents avoiding their financial obligations.

Child support can be one of the most highly contested issues in a divorce. A family law attorney may advocate for a client on either side of the issue. A lawyer may also assist with child support modifications if a client’s financial situation has changed.

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