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How does incarceration affect child support

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2021 | Divorce, Family Law |

A brush with the law sometimes means that you may have to spend time in prison. When this happens, it could be difficult for you to pay child support, and you may wonder how your local family court will handle the situation.

Because you cannot work while you are in prison, you may worry about being behind on your child support payments after your release. The Judicial Branch of California says that parents usually do not have to pay child support while in prison. The state recognizes that many people may no longer have the means to make these payments. Because of this, your local child support agency freezes your payments.

What kind of sentence results in frozen payments?

Your child support agency may not freeze payments for every prison sentence. Typically, you have to spend at least 90 days in jail. If your sentence is shorter than three months, there is a chance that you may continue to owe child support during your incarceration. You usually have to resume making payments once your sentence is over.

Are there any exceptions?

Even with a sentence longer than 90 days, you may sometimes have to make child support payments. A court may order your arrest if you have not been making these payments. In this situation, you usually have to make payments while in prison. You may also have to continue paying if domestic violence is a factor in your incarceration.

In some situations, you may have the financial means to make payments even though you are not working. When this is the case, a court may require you to keep paying child support.

Sometimes, your incarceration may keep you from returning to work or bringing in the kind of income that you had previously. In this situation, you can usually speak to a family court about a modification.