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Bill seeks to waive child support payments during incarceration

Depending on which side of a child support dispute you find yourself on, you may either be unable to either pay or recover owed child support. Custodial parents who are unable to recover child support may have a tough time paying for their child's educational expenses, extracurricular activities, and even their everyday expenses and medical costs. Noncustodial parents, on the other hand, may find themselves unable to make child support payments due to a decrease in wages or another change in circumstances.

One of those circumstances is incarceration. Under current Louisiana law, convicts are still required to pay child support even while they are in jail. This often means that they come out of prison with significant arrearages, and they face wage garnishment almost immediately upon taking on a job. These stressors, some experts say, cause these individuals to be more at risk for reoffending. Re-incarceration, in turn, prevents custodial parents and their children from recovering the child support they are owed.

In an attempt to remedy this situation, the Louisiana House recently passed a bill that would waive child support payments while an individual is incarcerated. The bill also proposes a one month buffer period between release from incarceration and the initiation of child support payments. There are exceptions, though. For example, those incarcerated for failure to pay child support will have to continue to make payments, as well as those offenders who actually have money to meet their child support obligation.

Although this bill has yet to pass the state Senate, it is worth being aware of, as it could significantly affect how you pay or receive child support. Those who have questions about child support laws and how they may be relevant to their unique set of circumstances can contact a legal professional of their choosing.

Source: The Times-Picayune "Louisiana House passes bill to free prisoners from paying child support," Julia O'Donoghue, June 1, 2017

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