One of the potential penalties for failing to pay child support is time in jail. However, when someone is incarcerated, it is difficult or impossible for them to make the money needed to pay what they owe. Making matters worse is that child support debt often grows while someone is in jail, so it can be even harder for that person to stay out of jail for failing to meet their obligations.
In an effort to help end this cycle, the Obama administration has made it possible for prisoners to reduce the amount of child support they owe while incarcerated. The rules were created by the Administration for Children and Families, and they are designed to have child support reflect the situation a person obligated to pay support is in.
Prior to the rule changes, states could label someone incarcerated as voluntarily unemployed, which prevented the individual from requesting changes to their child support obligations. The new rules also require the state to notify both parents that child support orders may be modified if one of the individuals is incarcerated longer than six months.
Although the Obama administration has reduced the financial strain put on inmates for child support, there are still a variety of ways that a person who is owed child support can seek the compensation they have not received. State and federal services can garnish the wages of a person who has not pay support, and these organizations can also put a lien on an individual's property or revoke their driver's license. A lawyer could explain the options available to someone who is owed child support and which options might be best based on their circumstances.