Attitudes surrounding child support are rapidly changing as both state and federal lawmakers explore the negative impact child support can have familial relationships and personal financial growth. Studies have shown that even when a noncustodial parent is unable to pay the full amount of child support that the court has ordered, he or she is often able to provide tangible support that helps the custodial parent and child. Even though a noncustodial parent may run into temporary trouble making support payments, he or she usually works hard to do what he or she can to keep the debt under control. Unfortunately, one financial crisis caused by job loss, medical problems, or a family emergency can leave a noncustodial parent crippled by massive child support debts. Understanding this issue, some states are exploring child support amnesty and encouraging other states to explore how amnesty programs can help families.

What is Child Support Amnesty?

Child support amnesty programs are offered in various states in order to give parents who are behind in child support payments a chance to make arrangements that benefit them and allow them to resume financially supporting their children. Each state offers its own method for addressing seriously late payments with programs tailored to help fix situations they are most familiar with. The programs allow parents who are seriously behind in child support to contact their local child support enforcement agency to request amnesty without fear of arrest or other penalty that would lead to a noncustodial parent falling further behind with their payments.

Who Does Amnesty Help?

The people who benefit most from child support amnesty programs are parents who want to support their children and the children who need financial support. When the District of Columbia decided to implement an amnesty program, almost half of parents required to pay child support were behind on payments, owing over $200 million in back child support. The amnesty program gave noncustodial parents a chance to receive grants to help catch up on arrears, earn their driver’s license rights again, and avoid arrest. Approximately one week after the amnesty program was launched, the state recovered just over $33,700.00 in child support payments which helped custodial parents provide back to school clothing and other necessities for their children.

Would Amnesty Work for You?

If you are a parent who is behind in child support payments, or a custodial parent who has not received financial help in several months, child support amnesty could give you a chance to recover financially. An amnesty program increases a custodial parent’s chances of receiving the compensation he or she needs and allows a noncustodial parent a chance to catch up on past due payments without worrying about losing a job because of suspended licenses or incarceration.   Not every state offers child support amnesty yet, but staying aware of child support developments in other states will increase your chances of knowing when your state decides to implement its own form of amnesty.

Amnesty Alternatives

Falling behind on child support is extremely stressful since it leads to concerns regarding your child’s wellbeing and places you at risk of legal repercussion. If you have fallen behind in support payments, contacting a qualified child support attorney to discuss your options is the best step to take.  The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to help you explore alternatives to amnesty such as support modifications to reduce your payment amounts. Contact one of our Atlanta, Georgia area locations today and schedule an initial conversation so that we can begin working on your behalf.