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Realistic Child Support Orders for Incarcerated Parents

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2012
6 pages
This fact sheet from the Office of Child Support Enforcement examines realistic child support orders for incarcerated parents.
This fact sheet was compiled by the Office of Child Support Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to highlight realistic alternatives to establish child support orders for incarcerated parents. The report notes that incarcerated noncustodial parents often have large child support debt upon entering prison and this debt increases by considerable amounts by the time they leave prison. This debt can be a significant factor for offenders trying to reenter the community and find employment. The fact sheet discusses the need to modify support orders that correctly reflect actual parental income and ability to pay. Modified orders also need to be based on the fact that actual income levels will change due to incarceration. Since 2005, a number of States have changed their policies to permit reduction or suspension of child support orders for incarcerated parents. In addition, State and local agencies have found that providing modification assistance to incarcerated parents is a positive step towards improving reentry efforts for offenders. Successful programs in California, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are highlighted in this fact sheet. 34 references