What happens to active child support if a parent is incarcerated?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Family Law

Being a parent comes with enormous responsibilities. One of these is the responsibility to nurture and provide for your child until they can stand on their own. And most parents take up this responsibility with utmost pride. 

When divorce comes into the picture, however, the court will often set forth how the child’s needs will be realized through a child support order. Like any other court order, child support is binding. But what happens if one parent is jailed and, thus, unable to work and provide for the child?

Incarceration does not bring child support to an end

Being in jail is not a valid reason to stop paying child support. Incarcerated parents may still have income or assets that can be directed toward child support. Parental assets that can go toward child support during incarceration include:

  • Interests or dividend income from your investment portfolios
  • Proceeds from rented or sold properties
  • Savings from bank and retirement accounts
  • Disability and retirement benefits

In other words, if a parent has the means to pay child support, then the order will remain in place while they are in jail. 

A parent may struggle to pay child support for whatever reason – including incarceration. In such circumstances, they may be able to petition for a modification of the existing order. However, any modification wouldn’t be retroactive. Thus, during the modification petition, the court may suspend the child support order for the incarceration period or reduce the amount to be paid. 

If you are having any issues with child support, it’s important to seek legal guidance to establish your options.