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Creative solutions for enforcement of Massachusetts child support

Massachusetts mothers and fathers may be interested in hearing about an effort that is taking place in another state. Most noncustodial parents understand that paying child support can be difficult when financial circumstances in their lives change. Enforcement of child support orders remains the focus of many states, and one organization is trying to do something about it.

The effort to help parents be responsible in paying child support is a common initiative across many states. One new program in a southeastern state has helped nearly 500 fathers find jobs as a means of meeting their child support obligations. This program is said to save the state nearly $3.5 million by not putting these parents in jail. If a parent completes the program, they can pay a substantial amount of money back on past due child support.

The program, which is located in several South Carolina counties, follows a 24-week schedule. There are 3 things the program focuses on -- creating healthy relationships, honing parenting skills and becoming financially stable. Each participant gets a plan developed specifically for them. It consists of goals, timelines, peer support sessions and paying for child support while in the program.

When paying child support is a constant financial struggle, parents often feel hopeless and fear punitive enforcement actions. However, there is help for financially struggling parents. Noncustodial parents can seek information on similar programs in Massachusetts. Moreover, they retain the right to request a formal modification based upon documentation of a substantial change in circumstances that is beyond the control of the applicant.

Source: Aiken Standard, "Fatherhood Coalition works to strengthen parent-child bonds", Dede Biles, May 12, 2014

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