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New Mississippi child support legislation introduced

When a noncustodial parent in Mississippi skips out on child support payments, the custodial parent has a number of options that are available to enforce payment. In the past, these options have included garnishment of wages, interception of tax refunds and liens on property. However, if one Mississippi senator has his way, the state could extend the list of available options to enforce child support payments to include gambling winnings.

Recently, the Mississippi State Legislature reconvened for its 2012 session, and legislators are currently taking up proposed laws. Among the bills introduced is one by Sen. Michael Watson from Pascagoula that would give custodial parents and the state the option to intercept the casino gambling winnings of noncustodial parents who owe back-due child support. If passed, the bill may increase the state's ability to collect child support payments from parents who have skipped out on their financial obligations.

However, the bill also underscores the fact that noncustodial parents need to be aware that a failure to pay child support can lead to serious ramifications. And the custodial parent has every right to explore various methods of enforcing those payments. Even when the noncustodial parent faces economic hardship, the state still expects them to make the mandatory payments.

If a parent is facing economic hardship, then he or she may be able to go to a court to request a modification of the payment. However, the court's interest lies with the best interests of the child or children, and it will decide accordingly.

Source: Sun Herald, "From babies to beer, new bills in hopper," Geoff Pender, Jan. 21, 2012

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Connie Smith advocating for the rights of disabled children before the Mississippi Supreme Court on November 12, 2013.