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Some parents in Maryland could get help with child support

Non-custodial parents often have a tough row to hoe since they may have limited time with their children but still have financial obligations that must be met. Some parents find it even more difficult when they face monetary difficulties, thereby making it challenging to pay their child support. However, a recent change in a regulation may benefit some Maryland parents who are falling behind in their payments. 

The federal Department of Health and Human Services has been focused on providing a way for parents serving more than 26 weeks in prison to seek a reduction in the amount of child support they were ordered to pay. Before the change, parents who were imprisoned were viewed as being voluntarily impoverished, and as such, their child support orders remained in full force and effect while they served their sentence. Once they were released, they often were faced with an enormous debt. The new regulation will allow for some of these parents to be relieved of the overwhelming arrears that would be seemingly impossible to pay. The regulation further ensures that impoverished parents' support orders be based on the amount of their income, thereby making their payments more affordable.

There are some who were opposed to this legislation, and they attempted to block it in Congress. They argued that if that regulation passed, it would lead to a rise in the numbers of single-parent households that would qualify for government benefits, which would fall to taxpayers to fund. Their efforts were not enough to get the new rule revoked. 

There is the possibility that some may seek to overturn this regulation; however it could take years to accomplish. For now, those parents who are literally making only pennies an hour while serving their sentences have some hope for relief. Maryland parents who are struggling to make timely payments regarding child support orders can return to family court to petition for a formal modification. Family law attorneys can assist in these and related matters.

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

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