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How to handle child support payments while in jail

If a parent is sent to jail or prison in Texas or anywhere else, he or she may still be responsible for paying child support. However, individuals can ask a judge to either suspend an order while they are incarcerated or reduce how much they owe. People should also acknowledge and account for any back support that has not been collected. This is because those who are in prison are relatively easy for state agencies to find.

Child support enforcement agencies may be able to help parents manage their support payments while they are incarcerated. They may also help individuals maintain relationships with their children while in custody. Furthermore, authorities may help parents find work after they have completed their jail or prison sentences. In some cases, payments will be suspended until after a parent finds a job and has the ability to financially support his or her child.

An individual can request a paternity test to determine if he is actually a child's father. If there is no proof that a person is a child's father, he is generally not required to pay child support. Parents should also be aware that interest could accrue on any child support balance that is not paid while they are in jail.

A failure to pay child support could result in financial and other penalties, which could include jail time or the loss of professional licenses until back support is paid in full. Parents who don't think that they can meet their support obligations may benefit from consulting with an attorney. Retaining legal counsel may help an individual get approval to suspend or otherwise change the terms of the support order that is currently in effect.

Source: Verywell Family, "Child Support Payments and Incarcerated Single Parents," Debrina Washington, April 6, 2018

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