Child Support If the Other Parent is In Jail

Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, LLC. – Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers

Filing for Child Support If the Other Parent is in Jail

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections reports that greater than 81,000 children in PA have a parent in jail. Regardless of whether you are the parent receiving the support or the parent incarcerated, child support is the responsibility of both parents. Establishing, enforcing, or modifying a child support order when the other parent is in jail is not impossible, but it can complicate the process. An experienced family law attorney  helps guide you and protect your rights.

In general, Pennsylvania Courts may modify a child support order when a parent becomes incarcerated.  However, an incarcerated parent is not automatically relieved of their child support obligation. 

Child Support with an Incarcerated Parent in Pennsylvania

If you are divorced or soon will be, providing for your children is very important to you. When the other parent is in jail, the situation intensifies. The income of the parents determine child support orders. Being incarcerated may not prevent a child support order from being entered or enforced as long as there are assets to draw the payments from. Assets can take the form of: 

  • interest or dividend income from investments such as annuities and stocks
  • Real estate, rental income
  • disability, retirement/pension, settlement payments, or other similar benefits that continue during incarceration
  • savings/bank accounts, retirement accounts, or other accounts 
  • money from selling property (real estate, a vehicle, stocks, or other personal property)

Child Support Accrual

If the parent is in jail because they refuse to pay child support, the obligation continues to accrue. If the incarcerated parent is in jail for another reason, does not request a modification of the child support order, and can continue to pay, the child support obligation may continue to accrue, and the incarcerated parent ordered to pay it. 

If the incarcerated parent does not have the assets to pay support, they can petition the court to modify an existing order. The burden of proof is on the incarcerated parent to demonstrate insufficient assets to meet their child support obligation. The court may modify the order according to its findings. 

Court Orders on Child Support from a Parent in Jail

The Court makes a child support order modification if it finds that the incarcerated parent does not have the assets to pay child support while they are in prison. Modification of a child support order is not automatic, it must be filed for and evidence presented to support the modification. 

Child Support from a Parent that Gets Arrested

Enforcing a child support order from a parent that gets arrested can become complicated. Once an enforcement petition is filed, the Court has the power to request and review the incarcerated parent’s finances and assets. It continues to focus upon the child’s best interest when it reviews the evidence and makes its final decision. 

Getting Help for Your Child Support Case

Speaking with an experienced family law attorney can be the best decision you make when navigating child support matters. At the Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, LLC Firm, experienced family law attorneys are ready to listen to you and help you make decisions related to your child support case. They provide legal advice as well as directing you to resources that help your specific situation. 

Summary on Child Support with an Incarcerated Parent

Child support with an incarcerated parent can be complicated to pursue and frustrating to understand. Having the best advocate who explains the process and your rights, as well as someone who genuinely cares about you and your family, is vital. Put our decades of combined experience to work for you!

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