New law excuses inmates from paying child support temporarily

Recently, a bill was passed by the Maryland Senate that likely made many inmates that owe child support sigh with relief. The bill allows for inmates in prison to have their child support payments, which come from a court order that was likely part of a prior child custody case, reduced or suspended during their time in prison. The bill passed the House last month with a 78-61 vote and Senators this month were in favor of the bill 25-21.

Supporters believe this is a great way to ensure convicts pay child support after their release, or at the very least, the bill makes it easier for them to do so. The reason for this is because many inmates accumulate thousands of dollars in child support payments while incarcerated because they do not have access to funds. This makes it harder for them to make regular child support payments upon their release from prison. One Senator sees it as a way to encourage them to do better and be more responsible.

Opponents, however, were alarmed at the passing of such a bill, believing that some inmates may find a way to get into prison so their child support obligations can be excused. However, this concern has been addressed, as those who intentionally become incarcerated will not be eligible to apply for a reduction or suspension, nor will those on work-release programs. Regardless, the bill has passed and now the state of Maryland allows for inmates to request a reduction or suspension in child support payments from a previous child custody order. This is something that any inmate or family of an inmate may want to check into if accumulation of child support is a significant worry in Maryland.

Source: The Washington Times, "Bill to relieve Maryland inmates of child support passes," David Hill, April 4, 2012