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Inmates may soon receive child support relief

Currently, there are approximately 29,000 inmates in federal prisons across the country who are ordered to pay support to their children. Unfortunately, these individuals tend to fall far behind on making child support payments due to their lack of incomes while they are removed from society. When they are released from prison, they are coming out with massive debts owed, which certainly puts a damper on them getting their lives back together. However, a proposal has been submitted for approval that would grant current and former inmates in Maryland and elsewhere some financial relief.

In November 2014, the Office of Child Support Enforcement submitted a proposal that would redefine the child support requirements placed on inmates. As it stands, the majority of inmates who are ordered to pay child support, when released, are approximately $24,000 in debt for failing to make their support payments. Having this sizable debt attached to one's name only increases the hardships one may face when re-entering society.

So, what can inmates do to help ease the financial burden placed on them by having to pay back child support? Some states do allow these individuals to seek to modify their support orders. However, there are other states in which this is not a possibility. If the current proposal is accepted by the current administration, this will change. The ability to modify and seek relief would be available to all inmates.

A decision regarding this proposed change to child support requirements for inmates is expected by January 2017. If approved, thousands of non-custodial parents could be granted some financial relief. Regardless of the final decision, though, those who are behind on support payments in Maryland may still have options available to them. With the assistance of legal counsel, the appropriate steps in seeking a support order modification or back-payment reduction may be taken.

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

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