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Amnesty program successfully collects delinquent payments

Recently, we discussed the statewide, week-long amnesty program that allowed parents who owed child support to make payments without fear of arrest. The program took place at the end of April of this year and was available in every county.

Many of these New Jersey parents had outstanding warrants for delinquent payments of child support. Instead of focusing on punishments, the parents who came forward to the county probation office had the opportunity to make a payment or negotiate a payment plan.

The statewide results are not yet fully tallied, but in Union County 328 parents took advantage of the program and worked out a settlement to drop the arrest warrants against them. Union County collected $67,000 during the week in back pay. Some people created a payment plan while others simply paid up in full.

This is just one way to tackle child support enforcement. Although some of the repayment plans included small amounts, like one authority said, every little bit that a child gets in financial support that they were not getting before is helpful. Plus, by avoiding an arrest or potential jail time, parents are able to continue working and providing that support. Even without an amnesty program, parents can go to court or an attorney to discuss options to modify payments if they run upon hard financial times. Addressing the issue is always better than waiting until it's too late.

To make sure that parents knew about the program, Union County mailed letters to those with arrest warrants related to failure to pay child support. The last time that New Jersey offered this type of amnesty was in 2004. This time around, Union County more than doubled what it collected ten years ago. The state collected $1 million in 2004 and hopefully this year's number also exceed that amount in order to help the children who rely on the financial support from their parents.

Source: NJ.com, "Union County authorities collect $67,000 in child support during amnesty program," Tom Hayden, May 5, 2014

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