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North Dakota Offering Amnesty for Late Child Support Payers

Thousands of North Dakota parents who are behind in child support payments are getting some unique help to catch up. (iStockphoto)
Thousands of North Dakota parents who are behind in child support payments are getting some unique help to catch up. (iStockphoto)
June 8, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. - With Father's Day just around the corner, North Dakota officials are now offering some forgiveness for parents who've been late on their child support payments.

For the first time the state's child support service is setting up what's called the Amnesty Project for parents who owe past-due support.

Jim Fleming is director of North Dakota's Child Support Program and says about 18,000 parents owe about $259 million in back payments.

"What we want to do is get more child support flowing from the payer to the kids," Fleming says. "If you never know when you're going to get paid child support it's pretty hard to rely on that to help keep the roof over your head and food on the table."

According to the Child Support Program, about 3,000 North Dakota parents owe $25,000 or more. Fleming says the amnesty program will take several steps to help parents catch up on support payments without facing certain penalties.

He's also asking parents with past-due support to call the Child Support Program to set up a time to meet with a case worker.

"We call it an Amnesty Project because those who are behind in child support if they call their case worker nothing bad's going to happen to them," says Fleming. "They're going to have a chance to have an open discussion about the status of the case, and what we might be able to do to turn the case around and to be making more regular payments."

He says in addition to other relief, case workers can help parents set up income-adjusted payment plans or help them recover suspended drivers or hunting licenses.

The child support Amnesty Project will run now through the end of the month.

More information is available at childsupportnd.com.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND