Texas mothers and fathers who end up in jail will lose their source of income, and this could make it difficult — if not impossible — to keep paying your child support payments. Nevertheless, some non-custodial parents will still be responsible for paying their monthly support obligations regardless of whether they’re in jail or not.
In these circumstances, non-custodial parents may be able to petition for a suspension of their child support orders.
Child support and incarceration: What you need to know
If you go to prison and you still owe monthly child support payments, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Parents who simply stop paying their child support will accrue interest on their outstanding payments owed.
- Parents will never be able to make back child support payments disappear, even through bankruptcy, because child support payments are exempt from bankruptcy.
- Reducing or suspending child support payments may be possible while parents are in jail. However, receiving approval for such arrangements will be at the discretion of the child custody judge.
- In many circumstances, parents will have to continue paying child support while they’re in prison.
The child support enforcement agency can help incarcerated parents
Many incarcerated parents may view the child support enforcement agency as their enemy, especially if the agency is trying to secure the payments that they can no longer afford. However, the enforcement agency may also help parents maintain the relationship with their children while they are in prison. The agency may help parents find gainful employment after they leave prison — while helping parents get new job training to aid in this process.
What to do after being released from prison?
For non-custodial parents who were recently released from prison, it’s important to notify the child support enforcement agency immediately, and to tell the agency that the parent is currently searching for employment. Formerly incarcerated individuals should also reach out to their children to reestablish contact. In addition, they should resume their normal child support payments.
It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to serving time in prison and child support. As such, non-custodial parents who have received a prison sentence should learn as much as they can about their legal rights and options.