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President aims to reduce child support burden on inmates

For parents who are incarcerated, a new plan to reform child support payment rules could be beneficial. According to the news from Oct.16, the president has been looking at child support payments and how they become a crippling debt for those who are incarcerated.

He plans to overhaul the rules that govern how much prisoners have to pay, so they don't end up with such high debts. The new rules would allow incarcerated parents to lower the amount of child support they pay while they're in prison, which would have a large impact on the amounts of debt accrued during prison sentences and help make prisoners more stable once they're released.

Without this change, some would assume those released from prison would actually pay back what they owe. However, the fact is that most people coming out of prison have no ability to make child support payments and therefore end up back in prison for failing to do so.

These changes haven't been finalized yet, but President Obama intends to complete them by the time he leaves office. Of course, not everyone is excited about these changes; some Republicans have denounced the move, saying that the changes allow inmates to squirm out of their parental responsibilities. However, it has been reported that this was a bipartisan effort, and both Democrats and Republicans worked together to resolve this issue.

Most states in the United States do allow prisoners to modify child support payments. Fourteen still don't. The new regulations, which were first drafted in 2014, lets prisoners modify child support orders and requires that the states set up new payments based on the inmates' actual incomes.

Source: Atlanta Black Star, "Obama Plans to Reform Child Support Payment Rules for Incarcerated Parents," Tanasia Kenney, Oct. 16, 2016

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