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Imprisoned parents and child support obligations

Just about anybody can make a mistake that lands them in prison. In fact, some people end up behind bars through no fault of their own.

If you’re in jail, you obviously can’t work. If you can’t work, you may not be able to pay your child support. Logically, since the government is aware of both situations, you’d think that there would be some sort of automatic procedure in place that halts your child support obligation until you’re out of jail.

Except there isn’t. Your child support obligation continues and interest can keep accruing on the unpaid support as long as you are in jail. The repercussions on your future if you don’t handle the situation can be enormous. Your accrued child support and interest can delay your release from prison and leave or leave you on probation. You may face additional charges related to being a “deadbeat” parent.

You certainly aren’t alone if you’re in this situation. Around 50% of the inmates in federal and state prisons have children. About a quarter have an active child support obligation.

In order to keep your child support obligation from becoming a massive burden that may be impossible to overcome, you need to ask the court to consider a modification order for your support. A modification of support can either reduce the support you owe or suspend the order of support while you are incarcerated.

Ignoring the situation with your child support will not help. You need to be proactive and take steps to manage the issue before it adds to your legal woes.