Started June of 2011, Child Support Court is a different approach to get Non Custodial parents to pay the support obligation that the Court ordered them to pay for their children. After starting to see defendants in court who wanted to pay but didn’t have the means, a group of Lincoln County professionals, including defense lawyers and the Prosecuting Attorney’s office developed an alternative approach that helps the Non Custodial parents pay instead of punishing them for not paying.
Here’s how it works. Candidates are either selected by the Defense Attorney who believes their client can be helped by the program or by the Prosecutor who believes the participant will do the work. The program takes a large commitment, including; monthly court appearances, parenting classes and other customized classes that fit each participant’s needs, as well as being required to make regular payments when the Child Support Court staff believes the participant is ready.
Once selected, defendants are ordered to meet with a counselor who assesses everything from their education level to personal issues such as substance abuse. No one with a history of child abuse or violence is accepted into the program. After the assessment, a customized plan is developed. This plan could be anything from obtaining a GED, resume building or job coaching workshops, to alcohol or substance abuse programs, and financial management classes; whatever is needed to get the participant on the road to paying child support. All participants are required to attend parenting classes and obtain/maintain employment.
During monthly court hearings each defendant’s progress is tracked. Missing court appearances or not attending court appointed classes could lead to the participant being terminated from the program and placed back into the traditional legal process.
After all classes are completed, participants’ are required to start paying child support. After paying a Court appointed dollar amount successfully for six (6) months, they will begin the pay the full Court ordered child support amount. Participants’ must pay six (6) months of the Child Support Court ordered amount and six (6) months of the full Court ordered amount, consecutively, in order to graduate the program. Once graduated, and depending on case specifics, the participants’ may get probation or could even get the Non Support charges dismissed.
If you would like to be considered for the program, consult your attorney and ask them to suggest you for the program.