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New child support regulation and parents in prison

California prisons are filled with fathers and mothers. While not all prisoners are parents, research indicates that approximately 20 percent of prisoners do have some sort of child support responsibility. Under normal circumstances, child support responsibilities can be challenging at times. However, for the incarcerated individual, they can be especially difficult.

It appears that there is a new federal regulation that allows child support requirements to be adjusted while the parent is in prison. While most prisoners do work, their pay is often less than a dollar per hour. This is most likely much less than they were making when the child support order was issued. As a result, the parent is unable to make the required child support payments.

Authorities on the matter indicate that this new regulation is intended to prevent future crimes. Prior to this change, the prisoner's debt continued to increase while in prison and unable to make the required child support payment. Upon release, the prisoner could owe a considerable amount in back child support. This extreme debt could be a contributing factor leading back to criminal activity as a means to resolve the problem.

It appears that this reduction in child support for prisoners is not automatic. States are required to inform prisoners who are expected to be incarcerated in excess of six months about this new regulation. Prior to making decisions regarding how this regulation will affect child support that is to be either paid or received under a California court order, the individual may want to discuss its implications with legal counsel.

Source: themarshallproject.org, "Child Support Relief Coming for Incarcerated Parents", Eli Hager, Dec. 20, 2016

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