Changes in how Indiana deals with parents who fail to pay court-ordered child support should help to improve the growing problem.

Repeat offenders who don't pay child support will now face greater penalties.

Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation this week to make repeated criminal nonsupport of a child punishable by two to eight years in prison.

Previous law only allowed such sentences for those owing more than $15,000 in back child support.

Hopefully, an earlier threat of jail time might spur some to catch up on back payments.

Other changes give judges more flexibility in lowering sentences if offenders pay their overdue support and serve probation. A lesser sentence also means judges have the option to clear offenders' records.

That's a positive change. Keeping a felony charge off someone's record could help offenders find jobs and ultimately provide reliable support for their children.

The state has taken important steps to help ease the burden many children of divorce must endure.