Noncustodial parents in Pennsylvania that cannot afford to make their child support payments on time can face a number of different enforcement measures. One that is used is incarceration. However, parents who are incarcerated may continue to accrue child support debt while they are locked up, and they may be unable to settle their balance when they get out.
Before President Obama left office, he issued an order to ease child support enforcement measures while a noncustodial parent is in jail. The regulation was an effort to prevent the cycle of incarceration that can plague parents who can't keep up with child support payments because they have low incomes. According to a federal study that was conducted in 2006, noncustodial parents earning $10,000 per year or less are responsible for 70 percent of late child support payments.
The new child support regulation will require family courts to calculate child support orders based on a parent's actual ability to make payments. While the parent is in jail, the parent cannot be considered voluntarily unemployed, and the parent may apply for reduced child support payments. So far, the child support regulation that was issued by Obama has not been affected by the change of administration. Though President Trump has called for the review of many of Obama's last-minute regulations, the child support regulation is not said to be one of them.
A noncustodial parent who is facing enforcement measures for nonpayment of child support may want to have representation from a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to help ensure that an accurate assessment of both parents' incomes and expenses is taken into account before a new child support order is issued.