A few weeks ago, our blog discussed how officials here in New Jersey had elected to hold child support amnesty week from April 28 – May 3 as part of the “Do the Right Thing for Your Kids” program.
Here, the impetus for the initiative was the rather grim picture painted by the state Department of Human Services concerning delinquent child support. For example, the agency has found that over 400,000 children in the Garden State are reliant on child support payments, yet only 42 percent of them have a non-custodial parent meeting their court-ordered support obligations.
During the course of the amnesty week, delinquent parents facing arrest warrants across the state’s 21 counties could make arrangements to meet with an official at the county probation office, where they could either pay the money owed or negotiate a new payment plan.
In the event a parent was able to reach an acceptable payment arrangement, the arrest warrant was discharged. However, if the parent was unable to reach an acceptable payment arrangement, they were still able to leave without being arrested.
While the final statewide figures from child support amnesty week are still in the process of being compiled, a few counties have already released their final tallies and the results are impressive.
To illustrate, officials in Union County reported that a total of 328 parents were able to arrive at acceptable payment arrangements with county professionals and that the total amount of back child support collected was $67,000.
This constitutes a sizeable jump from 2004 — the last time New Jersey offered delinquent parents the opportunity to try to work out a repayment plan — when roughly 230 people were able to make payments arrangements and $33,000 in back child support was collected.
“Even if we started by receiving $25 a week, that was money that the child had not been receiving, and the parent then did not have a warrant and could continue to work, and the probation department did not have to deal with his arrest,” said an official with the Union County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s a win-win-win.”
It should be interesting to see whether the state can surpass the $1 million in back child support it collected in 2004. Based on the preliminary figures from Union County, this looks to be a real possibility.
Whether you are behind on child support payments or are seeking to enforce a child support order, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can explain your options and protect your rights.