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Trump leaves Obama's child support changes untouched

Some California parents may be pleased to learn that the Trump administration has not yet interfered with an executive order by Barack Obama that changed the way some states collect child support payments from parents who are imprisoned. The new rule took effect on Jan. 19.

Before Obama's executive order, 14 states did not allow parents to modify payment plans when they were sent to jail, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This condemned many parents to a pile of debt from which they could not recover. The new rule requires states to formulate payment plans that match a parent's actual income, which could help prevent them from becoming trapped in a cycle of poverty. The Obama administration took two years to draft the final rule, and it was hailed by the National Child Support Enforcement Association.

A 2006 federal study conducted in nine states found that 70 percent of delinquent child support payments were owed by parents with incomes of $10,000 a year or less. Further, the average child support obligation of those parents equaled around 83 percent of their income. Approximately 65 percent of child support payments were made on time in 2015, according the Child Support Program.

California parents in need of child support modification may wish to speak with a family law attorney. Legal counsel could carefully review the case and file the necessary paperwork with the court. Likewise, parents who are having difficulty collecting child support payments may find relief by speaking to a lawyer about available debt collection options.

Source: Governing, "Trump Leaves Obama's Last-Minute Child Support Rule Alone," J.B. Wogan, Jan. 31, 2017

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