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Prisoners and child support

New Jersey residents may be interested to learn that the Obama administration is planning to change the rules regarding child support for non-custodial parents who are behind bars. According to the administration, these regulatory changes would help prevent ex-convicts from being stuck with crippling debt upon their release that may be difficult to overcome.

Most child support programs require parents who are not the primary caregiver of their children to send financial support. However, prisoners who have little to no income may not be able to make the payments. The child support can backup into large debts due to the interest and, in some cases, increased child support amounts. While some states allow prisoners to modify their child support orders to avoid crippling debts after prison, there are 14 states that still have major obstacles that must be overcome.

The critics have argued that the regulatory changes would allow jailed parents to avoid being financially responsible for their children. Supporters, on the other hand, believe that the changes will reduce the prison populations as ex-convicts would not face the fear of going back to jail over child support debt they had no way of paying off in the first place.

When two parents do not live together, one parent is likely responsible for paying child support to help cover school costs, medical care and everyday expenses. When the financial situation of a parent who has been ordered to pay support adversely changes, an attorney could assist in filing a modification motion with the court having jurisdiction over the matter. It should be noted that even if it is granted, it will apply only prospectively and will have no effect on any payments that may be past due.

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