New regulations announced by the Obama administration will make it possible for some parents who are incarcerated to pause their child support payments while they are in prison. The regulations are scheduled to be implemented in 2017 and have drawn objections from some Republican lawmakers.
Currently, child support payments that are owed continue to accrue in many states while the parent who is required to make them is in prison. This often results in an inmates owing a substantially high debt upon their release. Inmates in federal prison make anywhere from $.23 to $1.15 an hour, making it in most cases impossible for them to pay child support.
By allowing inmates to halt child support payments while they are incarcerated, proponents argue that they are more likely to be able to get back on their feet when they are released. In many cases, former inmates are sent back to jail due to their inability to pay the back pay owed on the child support that accrued while they were in prison. Opponents of the law argue that it will make women who would otherwise be able to get welfare will be unable to do so due to the new regulation.
Child support payments are meant to provide a child with a similar standard of living they would have enjoyed if their parents had remained together. When a person is incarcerated and unable to pay, it is unclear how the situation should be handled. People who need help regarding child support when the owing parent is in prison may want to speak with a family law attorney. An inmate may be able to seek a modification of the amount due to their change in income.