- The Bradley Amendment in the Sixth Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, also known as Public Law#99-509, was signed into Law by President Ronald Reagan on September 20, 1986.
- Legislation was codified in 42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(9)(c)
- There was a perception at the time that wealthy fathers were getting judges to retroactively forgive child support arrears. This was based on a few isolated cases.
- Forbid any reduction of arrearage or retroactive reduction for any reason
- While it was intended to stop wealthy fathers from evading child support, it had a chilling effect on low income people.
- Almost 50% of prisoners have open child support cases. The law meant that child support would continue to accrue in prison because incarceration was treated as voluntary unemployment.
- Key points of the legislation included:
1. Created an automatic trigger of a non-expiring lien when child support becomes overdue.
2. Overrode any individual state statute of limitations on paying child support
3. Disallowed any discretion from the Court – meaning that Courts cannot alter child support arrears once it has been accrued.
4. Required obligators to show changed circumstances in order to modify child support