When a parent fails to make good on child support payments, the negative effects impact not only the children and the other parent but also the entire dynamic of the post-divorce relationship. In some cases, the delinquent parent simply cannot afford to pay. In other cases, the parent deliberately refuses out of a belief that the arrangement isn’t fair. Finally, the parent may be a victim of bad luck. For instance, he loses his job or gets demoted when his company eliminates his position, and he no longer can make child support payments without an income stream. However, his obligation to pay won’t necessarily stop, and the child support debt can continue to mount.
When delinquency becomes chronic, consequences ensue.
An Unfair Burden on the Poorest Parents?
Not surprisingly, the lowest paid earners bear the heaviest child support burden and owe the most in back payments.
Republicans and Democrats alike agree that the federal system needs an overhaul and that payments should stop for those in prison across the nation. While conservatives in general want checks in place to prevent parents from taking advantage of this system, liberals in general prefer broader parameters, so that disadvantaged parents can climb out of what can become the bottomless pit of child support.
Stopping Child Support During Incarceration
If you are arrested and owe child support, your county child support worker might be able to assist you. Minnesota laws state that you can request child support to be reduced or stopped while you are in custody. However, the courts do not automatically stop child support. Instead, you will need to take the following steps:
1. Submit a letter to the child support office, asking for a review of your case. Include your reason for the letter.
2. Personnel at the agency will decide whether your case meets the criteria for modifications. They will notify the parent with an approval or a denial.
3. If the request is denied, the parent can submit a motion directly to the court, asking for a modification of the order.
After you are released from custody, the court will again review your financial situation and establish a new order. It will consider your employment status in addition to your efforts to obtain employment.
If you’re a parent owed child support from a delinquent ex, you also have rights and options to seek fair compensation, so you can provide for yourself and your children.