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1 approach to collecting unpaid child support

For Colorado parents who are raising children after a separation or divorce, having the financial means to do so is a primary concern. In many cases, a noncustodial parent is tasked with making child support payments to help with those costs. When child support goes unpaid, families suffer. One state is looking at an unusual approach to boost collections of unpaid child support.

The program is offered in the nation's capital, and allows parents who are behind on their child support obligations to get back on track without the usual repercussions associated with unpaid child support. Noncustodial parents can request and receive amnesty for past due child support. They are also able to access help in structuring a new payment plan that will provide the support that their children need.

As of the time of this report, more than 100 parents have made a formal request for amnesty. Many of those parents have a sincere desire to financially support their children, but need education and support systems to enable them to do so. The program aims to provide assistance to both adults and children alike. Those who support this effort point out that there is a difference between parents who are actively trying to avoid contributing to the financial needs of their kids, and those who want to help but are burdened by the punitive aspects of child support collection. 

If this program achieves significant results, similar programs could be developed across the nation. Colorado faces a number of challenges in enforcing child support payments. It is possible that an amnesty program could have a significant impact on families who are struggling to find an effective child support solution. 

Source: The Washington Post, "D.C. offers amnesty to parents who are behind in child support", Michael Alison Chandler, Sept. 7, 2017

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