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The Effects of Incarceration on Child Support Obligations

Parents need to keep in mind that the child support conditions set up by the divorce court aren’t permanent. Not only do they typically end once the child graduates high school or turns 18, but there could be several changes along the way that might impact how much is owed and which parent has primary custody. Unfortunately, some of those changes can occur much more abruptly than others. If one parent gets in trouble with the law, then the initial agreements might be in flux. Parents should know what the potential outcomes could be like after one of them gets arrested so they have a better time adapting to the changes.

Why Was The Parent Arrested?

The severity of the parent’s crime affects how much fines they owe to the state and how much time they will serve behind bars. This also means they have a high likelihood of getting fired from their current job, so there’s a good chance they may not have enough to support their kid during this time fully.

Spouses can request a modification on child support if there is a significant change in circumstances. These requests are usually reserved for parents that remarry, move out of state, or get a new job. Some states don’t consider incarceration as enough of a justification to modify support, but Texas does. If you are arrested, you will have an easier time convincing the court to potentially reduce child support payments if you end up losing your job as a result of your incarceration. Most states treat incarceration as involuntary unemployment anyways.

However, it’s different if you got arrested for not paying child support. The court will examine if the reason you haven’t been paying your dues is that you can’t provide payments or you refuse to do so. They may proceed with civil contempt or assign you to a state diversion program in the process depending on what they find you guilty of.

Who Was The Custodial Parent?

Salary Sign On Dollar BillsAnother aspect that influences the custody payments is which parent ended up incarcerated. If it was the noncustodial parent, then the child’s living conditions don’t change that drastically. Even if the noncustodial parent doesn’t request a court modification to lower child support, the one with primary custody might request some changes to retain full custody of the kid to ensure their safety. If there was a schedule where the child went to live with the noncustodial parent for a brief time during the month, that could change after time in jail.

If it was the parent with primary custody that got arrested, then the case gets more complicated. The noncustodial parent doesn’t automatically get full custody by default. The court has to consider the best interests of the child, so they might end up assigning the kid to an uncle or grandparent if they still don’t believe the noncustodial parent is fully capable of raising the child on their own. Regardless, it is a dramatic change in circumstances, so the noncustodial parent can still request a support modification in the process.

Arrests are arguably one of the most complicated ways for child support conditions to change, so you need the best child custody lawyer in San Antonio, TX, you can find in case this ends up happening to you. Consider contacting a professional attorney at the Law Offices of Steven C. Benke to help you with your difficult scenario.

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