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Does an inmate still have to pay child support?

Texas parents who are paying or receiving child support may be interested in what happens when one parent is a prison inmate. Generally, the proper forms must be filed in order to remedy the situation.

A child support order is issued by a court, requiring that a non-custodial parent make payments to a custodial parent in order to help care for their child. When a parent who owes support is incarcerated, it is most often difficult to continue making the required payments. However, simply being incarcerated does not stop the payments from being required. A court will not automatically modify the order either, so failure to make those payments can land the incarcerated parent in even more trouble.

To get a child support modification, the incarcerated person must file the appropriate request with the court. This can be done by hiring an attorney to petition the court for a change in the child support order to reflect the current circumstances. Another option is to send a form provided by the Texas Office of the Attorney General. The parent receiving the support may then be able to go to the court and appear against the proposed modification. The payment schedule will not change until the court actually makes a decision, so arrearages and interest will continue to accrue if the payments are not made as originally ordered.

An incarcerated parent who is the recipient of support payments can continue to have them made pursuant to the order, or alternatively upon the submission of the required forms can request to have them sent to the person who is taking care of the child. A family law attorney may be able to analyze the facts of a child support case on behalf of an incarcerated parent and assist in filing the appropriate forms.

Source: Office of the Attorney General , "CHILD SUPPORT Information for Incarcerated Parents and Parents Returning to the Community", December 27, 2014

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