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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Does an inmate still have to pay child support?

If a parent is incarcerated in a Texas jail or prison, he or she is not automatically off the hook to pay child support. Until an order is made to modify the existing child support order, the parent is liable for the monthly amount due to child support.

The Texas Office of the Attorney General does not have the power to unilaterally modify a child support order. Instead, the court that currently has jurisdiction over the case has this power. The court can modify the amount that should be ordered. It will only make this consideration after the necessary legal documents are filed. An incarcerated individual may complete the Incarcerated Noncustodial Parent Affidavit of Income/Assets form and submit it to the Office of the Attorney General. The incarcerated individual may also be required to submit information regarding income and assets, as well as a notarized affidavit. An incarcerated person may hire a private attorney to file these documents with the court and to request a modification of the support required. The other parent will also be given the opportunity to present his or her own evidence to the court.

Unless an order is made that releases the incarcerated parent from the obligation, the parent will still be liable to pay the amount ordered. A custodial parent who is incarcerated can still be the recipient. However, the noncustodial parent can request that the court redirect these payments to an individual who is caring for the child.

Child support orders have to be taken seriously, and even such a drastic change in circumstance as incarceration does not automatically relieve a parent of this obligation. A family law attorney may be consulted by those who are affected by this type of situation.

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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