Florida parents may have heard that the Trump administration is reviewing many of the more than 600 so-called “midnight” regulations enacted by Barack Obama before he left office. However, the one changing how states collect child support payments from incarcerated parents is remaining on the books for now.
The rule, which went into effect on Jan. 19, took aim at 14 states that did not allow parents to modify child support payment agreements when they were incarcerated. As a result, many parents racked up a mountain of debt while behind bars, trapping them in a cycle of poverty. Under the new regulation, states can no longer classify incarceration as voluntary unemployment and must create payment plans that reflect a parent’s ability to pay the debt. Florida already allowed incarcerated parents to modify their child support payment agreements before the rule was implemented.
In 2009, a federal study conducted in nine states discovered that 70 percent of delinquent child support payments were made by people earning $10,000 or less. The average child support debt of those behind on their payments equaled 83 percent of their total income. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is moving forward with Obama’s rule for now, it is possible the Trump administration could revoke the rule after a new department secretary is confirmed.
Parents who are having trouble collecting child support payments may find it helpful to consult with a Venice, Florida, child support attorney. An attorney could explain all legal remedies available and help recover delinquent payments. If a child support payment modification is needed, legal counsel could petition the court for the necessary changes.
Source: Governing, “Trump Leaves Obama’s Last-Minute Child Support Rule Alone,” J.B. Wogan, Jan. 31, 2017