Changes to help inmates pay child support

A number of states have begun to implement changes designed to help fathers in prison obtain child support modification so that they will not fall behind on their payments.

The Associated Press reports some states, including Texas and Massachusetts, allow inmates who are fathers to modify their child support so they are only paying between $20 and $80 per month. In addition, Connecticut and a number of other states have rules that allow judges to stop child support payments completely when the payer has no source of income.

Charisse Hutton, Connecticut’s director of support enforcement services, said that such rules typically lead to more fathers actually making child support payments.

“I want that order to be fair, so there is a better chance that person can and will pay,” she told the news source.

However, some states, such as Tennessee, consider jail “voluntary unemployment” and allow fathers to accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in back child support, something that advocates say hurts the chances of it ever being paid.

In 2007, there was nearly $25 billion collected in child support payments around the country, according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.