As one of his last duties as President, Barack Obama overhauled child support payment rules for parents who are in prison. Arizona residents may be interested in knowing what will become of those rules now that Donald Trump is President. While Trump has delayed many of Obama’s regulations, he is apparently leaving the prisoner child support rule in place.
The rule, which went into effect on Jan. 19, was designed to address the problem of prisoners who owe child support being unable to afford to pay it while incarcerated. Many states would not allow child support payers to have their child support amount reduced based on their reduced income while in prison. The result was often that a parent in prison would be released, only to be re incarcerated for non-payment of child support. Under the new rule, states can no longer deem incarceration ‘voluntary unemployment” and must allow prisoners to request lower child support payments due to lost income.
Republicans did criticize the rule when it was proposed, saying it would allow parents to get out of their responsibility to pay child support. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan introduced a bill to block it, but his bill died in committee and the rule became law the day before Trump was inaugurated. With a health and human services secretary yet to be confirmed under President Trump, it is unknown if the rule might eventually have more opposition from that department. For now, implementation of the rule is going forward.
When a court determines the amount of child support that a parent must pay, the amount and terms are not set in stone. Child support orders can be modified, and a request for modification can be made at any time by either the parent who is paying or the parent who is receiving child support. Having legal assistance when doing so can be advisable.