Paying child support while in prison

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Monday, September 7, 2015.

In Missouri, paying child support is implemented by both the court system and the Office of Child Support Enforcement. The parent who does not have custody of the child must pay a certain amount, as stated by the court, to the custodial parent. Generally, this amount is based on each parent’s income, with the goal to leave neither is poverty. However, when the paying parent is incarcerated, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to still collect child support.

Even with this challenge, however, an incarcerated parent is not free from child support just because they are behind bars. The Office of Child Support Enforcement has a few options to ensure they can still collect. This is especially true if your sentence is less than three years. You can have your child support agreement reviewed and possibly renegotiated, but the fact that you are behind bars has no impact on this review happening.

If you are granted a review, the courts tend to work on a case-by-case basis, looking at four factors. First is the amount of time you have left in prison. The courts will also look at how much income you will likely make when you get out. The final two are how much is currently being paid and how much will have accumulated when you get out.

If the courts rule against you, your estate and other assets may be liquidated to cover child support. Federal prison has different regulations, including freezing the child support order until you are released.

Paying support while you are incarcerated is a complex issue. As such, it may be beneficial to speak with a family law attorney, who may be able to help you work out a better arrangement.

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