Parents Could Receive Child Support Amnesty, Avoid Jail

Maryland’s neighboring state of New Jersey wants its parents to commit to “Do the Right Thing for Your Kids.” That is why the state’s office of Child Support Services is offering a get-out-of-jail-free opportunity for parents who are in arrears for their child support payments. Parents who are facing possible arrest for their overdue amounts could be eligible for payment restructuring under the amnesty effort.

Those parents who are interested in pursuing child support modifications may do so through the first weekend in May. If they reach an agreement for a payment plan, the parents can have their arrest warrants expunged. Even those parents who are unable to agree to a proposed payment plan may be temporarily exempted from arrest.

The last time such a program was offered in the state was 10 years ago. Parents were able to avoid jail time through a similar initiative that occurred in 2004. State authorities say that the program is only administered infrequently because they do not want to give parents the impression that child support is an optional commitment. However, there are some people who have fallen on hard times and could pay an even higher price for their failure to pay child support. Those parents deserve a second chance; luckily, the state of New Jersey is reaching out to provide needed assistance.

Although parents who find themselves making delinquent child support payments are unfairly characterized as “deadbeats,” there are a variety of reasons for noncompliance with child support. In many cases, parents fall behind on their weekly or monthly bills, and they are unsure how to break out of the financial mire. Those well-intentioned parents deserve the chance to make good on their overdue child support and demonstrate their commitment to their children, no matter their economic struggles.

Source:, “NJ offering child-support amnesty” Colleen Diskin, Apr. 18, 2014