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Modification of child support may be available to inmates

Incarcerated parents who have been ordered to pay support for their children tend to find that when they get out of prison they are deeply in debt. They are unable to keep up with their child support payments due to a lack of money coming in while they are removed from society. However, they are still expected to pay what has been ordered. It is understandable that, for inmates in New York and elsewhere, this type of situation would be quite distressing.

According to a recent reports, there are approximately 29,000 non-custodial parents currently incarcerated in federal prisons who are ordered to pay child support. Many of them, upon their releases, will owe nearly $24,000 in back-support payments. As these individuals struggle to get their lives back on track and find new ways to support themselves, the idea of having to pay down such a significant debt can be overwhelming.

About two years ago, the Office of Child Support Enforcement submitted a proposal that would change the support requirements placed on inmates. If approved, inmates would be allowed to seek modifications of support orders and possibly reductions in the amounts they owe in back payments. A decision on this proposal is expected by January 2017.

As it currently stands, there are some states that do already allow recently released inmates to seek modifications in child support orders. There are others states, however, where this is not considered an option — which is why this proposal has been put forth for review. For non-custodial parents in New York who have been or currently are incarcerated and who are deeply in debt due to the inability to make child support payments, legal help is available. With assistance, these individuals can take the steps necessary to seek modifications and, possibly, debt reductions.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Proposed Rules Could Ease Inmate Child-Support Payments”, Christopher Zoukis, Oct. 25, 2016