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New Mexico Collects Record Child Support Amount

New Mexico’s Human Services Department collected a record amount of child support enforcement payments over the last fiscal year that ended June 30, the Republic reports.

The state agency collected more than $123 million, an increase of 7 percent from the previous year.

Approximately two-fifths of New Mexico children live in single-parent homes, and nearly 30 percent of the income of families in poverty comes from child support payments.

The state collected most of the outstanding payments by withholding money from wages and collecting tax refunds and gambling winnings.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is working to increase the number of parents paying child support, recently announcing a week-long amnesty program, the Greenwich Time reports. The reprieve is available to individuals living in Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia counties, where more than $3 million in outstanding child support payments is due.

This system allows parents with outstanding warrants for their arrest due to unpaid child support to visit a Child Support Enforcement Division office in the state and pay a bond without fear of arrest. As a result, the warrant will be erased. After the amnesty, the state will seek out all parents with outstanding warrants.

1,074 warrants issued in NJ child support sweep

More than 1,000 New Jersey parents were apprehended over the past week as part of a twice-yearly sweep on the state conducted by the Sheriffs’ Association of New Jersey, according to The Associated Press.

The media outlet reports that a total of 1,074 arrest warrants were served across New Jersey during the three-day sweep period. The sweep targeted noncustodial parents who either failed to pay child support or did not appear at a mandatory court hearing to determine either child or medical support.

The 39 individuals arrested in Gloucester County owed a combined $703,331 in child support to former partners. Approximately $211,453 was collected by the state, according to Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzana, while an additional $18.7 million in penalties were charged.

Hundreds of people across the state were jailed over the weekend in connection with the child support sweep. In Camden County, 105 people owing about $1.849 million were apprehended; in Salem County, 61 individuals owing $879,616 and in Cumberland County, 33 people owing $1.03 million, according to the Gloucester County Times.

Last week, New Mexico announced it will soon be conducting a similar child support sweep across the state. However, Gov. Susana Martinez announced the state would be offering a week-long amnesty period for people with outstanding child support warrants if those individuals meet with a Child Support Division office to come to some sort of payment plan.

Miss. reports increase in child support payments

Child support payments in Mississippi have seen a sharp increase in recent years that some believe is the result of more aggressive tactics to penalize deadbeat parents and confirm paternity, according to multiple reports.

Mississippi has seen child support payments rise by $119 million in the last eight years, representing a 61 percent increase between fiscal year 2003 and 2011. The Division of Child Support Enforcement reportedly received about $314 million in child support payments in 2011, up from $195 million in 2003.

The agency has become more aggressive in establishing paternity and support orders since the early 2000s, Walley Naylor, the director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. While the agency was praised for its cost efficiency in 2002, the newspaper reports it eventually lost about $1.14 million through federal penalties and reduced incentive awards for failing to meet federal standards in those areas.

“We’ve seen a different attitude,” said Naylor, who has reportedly led the division since 2004. “We’ve changed the atmosphere here.”

It can be incredibly difficult to enforce child support payments in some cases. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2007, the most recent years for which statistics are available, about 47 percent of parents to whom child support was owed received the full amount, while nearly a quarter did not receive payments.

First child support felony warrant issued

Louisiana’s Ouachita Parish has issued its first criminal felony warrant for a woman is considerably behind on her child support payments, according to The Associated Press.

Sheriff’s deputies in Monroe are reaching out to law enforcement in other states to locate 41-year-old Mona Honaker White. She reportedly lives in Virginia, according to the media outlet, which said she allegedly owes $18,000 in child support.

Although Fourth Judicial District Attorney Jerry Jones told the AP the law making unpaid child support a felony changed in 2008, this case is Ouachita Parish’ first warrant issued since the change was initiated. Once White is located she will be extradited to the parish.

The news source did not say how many children White has or who has primary custody of them.

The statute of limitation to enforce a child support order in Louisiana is 10 years. Payments may be necessary beyond age 18 if a child is a full-time student in good standing and is a dependent to either parent.

Conn. budget cuts create child support fee

As a result of a string of state budget cuts, the state of Connecticut announced that custodial parents who receive child support will now have a small fee deducted from those payments to cover federal fees, according to published reports.

Although the state has typically taken care of the $430,000 annual fee, budget woes have forced Connecticut to transfer those costs to state residents. The Associated Press reports that under the new system, parents who receive more than $510 a year in child support will have $10 deducted from those payments, while those who receive more than $525 will have $25 removed.

Notices have reportedly been mailed to parents who will have to pay the fee.

Officials from the State Department of Social Services told the AP the fee will help cover expenses connected to locating parents, establishing paternity and enforcing child support rulings.

About $3.8 billion was provided to the states by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in fiscal year 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the Administration for Children and Families.