The majority of divorced parents who do not have physical custody make every effort to fulfill their financial obligations to their children. There are some circumstances that may make it difficult for some parents to make their child support payments. A new federal law recently was enacted that will affect families in every state, including Connecticut.
With just a few weeks left for the current administration, one of its last acts was to sign an executive regulation that changes child support rules for one segment of the population. The new law enables parents who are currently serving a prison sentence to request a modification in the amount of support they are required to pay. The law is a departure from current policy which did not view a prison term as a legitimate reason to fall behind in support. It is hoped that the new law will help prevent parents from falling so far behind that they consider unlawful ways of getting caught up once their sentence is completed.
Last year when the proposal was being considered, two lawmakers attempted to introduce a measure that would prevent the bill from being acted upon, but their efforts were not successful. It was feared that if the law was enacted, then single parent households would experience higher levels of poverty, which in turn could lead to greater expenses for the taxpayers. The new law also takes into account what a parent's income is and uses that as a guideline for support payments while also helping to reduce the amount in arrears for some.
The incoming administration may attempt to rescind the measure, but it could be a lengthy process. While there are merits to aiding those parents who are currently incarcerated, it remains a priority to ensure that children are provided for in a manner that does not overly burden the custodial parent. Connecticut parents can exercise their rights to ask the courts for modifications to child support payments as well as exercise their right to consult a lawyer whenever they have questions or difficulties in these or similar situations.
Source: themarshallproject.org, "Child Support Relief Coming for Incarcerated Parents", Eli Hager, Dec. 20, 2016