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Workhouses offsetting the penalties of child support offenders

When parents are no longer together, a parenting plan needs to be established in order to ensure the necessary care and support is available and provided for their children. When parents are the primary or custodial parent, they often seek child support from the other parent. When that parent fails to make these payments or is delinquent, there could be some serious penalties such as fines or jail time. Even when these consequences are put in place, the child might still not be receiving the necessary monetary support they need.

A recent decision in Bradley County might help parents that owe child support provide payments to the custodial parent while serving time for their failure to pay child support. The members of the commission's finance committee has discussed providing a workhouse for misdemeanor offenders and the members will be voting on a proposed 128-workhouse for prisoners in the county. If the vote goes through, offenders will be released to work during the day but confined during the night.

In doing this, costs for the facility will be alleviated, space can be freed up at the Bradley County Jail, and child support offenders could work to help pay off their penalties. In the long run, this would not only provide support to the children but it would help reduce the hardships the offender would experience after their time is served.

Those that are behind in child support or fail to make payments because of a substantial change in their life should seek to modify their payment plan. A judge can approve child support modification if there is evidence to support the need to change. Providing proof of unemployment, reduction in pay, the need for relocation or the remarriage of a spouse often does this. When a parent is unable to make a payment, it is best that they seek modification than not paying. This will often allow them to avoid fines and penalties for failed payments.

When determining child support, the best interest of the child is often the focal point. Parents who are unable to uphold a parenting plan should seek to understand their options for modification.

Source: Times Free Press, "Bradley County weighing workhouse construction," Paul Leach, Sept. 01, 2013

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