Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
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Policy changes target child support paid by prisoners

Federal inmates in Georgia who struggle to pay accrued child support following their release from prison may have an avenue to relief. Following action that was taken by the Obama administration on Dec. 19, both parents now have the right to seek changes to the amount paid in child support in the event that one of them serves more than six months behind bars.

The new regulations that were put into place in December are part of President Obama's effort to reform the criminal justice system. First proposed in 2014, the rulings effectively acknowledge that after prison, incarcerated inmates are often saddled with crippling debt that could actually result in their return there in some situations. In a statement regarding the anticipated result of the long-awaited rule changes, the assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families indicated that children will ultimately benefit from more reliable child support payments when the orders are based on the actual circumstances of their families.

However, the rule changes are not without opposition. Concern voiced by Republican lawmakers that some parents might see the regulations as a pathway for avoidance of financial responsibility could lead to pushback after President-elect Trump takes office in early 2017.

An earlier survey that was conducted by the Obama administration in 2010 found that the 29,000 federal prisoners with child support in arrears were behind an average of $24,000 on their payments. Georgia parents who number among incarcerated prisoners with child support orders in place may want to discuss their options under the new regulations with a family law attorney. Dependent upon the circumstances surrounding each particular situation, the attorney may be able to petition the court for a reduction in child support payments on a parent's behalf as well as advise the about any further developments that might occur under a new administration.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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