Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I am in Jail?

child support written on wooden blocks

Collin County TX child support attorneyParents who are faced with the prospect of going to jail must stay up-to-date on their child support obligations and are likely to face significant challenges when trying to do so. Being in jail does not automatically release you from paying child support; the only way you can change the amount you pay is by filing a request for modification.

File For a Modification of Child Support Payments

In Texas, parents can request a modification of their child support order only if one of the following circumstances are met:

  • The order was last modified or established at least three years ago.

  • The anticipated difference in monthly payments would be either 20 percent or $100 less than what is currently paid, according to the Texas child support calculator.

  • There has been a “material and substantial” change in circumstances, such as the paying parent becoming legally responsible for more children.

Texas has a form specifically for inmates who are hoping to have their support obligations modified. Filing for a modification does not guarantee that the request will be granted, and payments are still due during the time between the filing and the court hearing.

Failure to Pay Can Trigger Further Legal Issues

The State of Texas takes child support issues very seriously. Simply ignoring your support obligations until you are released is bound to result in worse consequences down the road. Failing to pay child support when you are in jail will result in an accumulation of unpaid support, interest owed on the support, and possibly even criminal charges associated with delinquent child support. Some specific consequences can include, but are not limited to:

  • Being held in contempt of court and jailed for up to six months

  • Suspension of your driver’s license or professional license

  • Wage garnishment

  • Garnishment of tax refunds, lottery winnings, and other governmental monies

Unpaid child support cannot be avoided. There is no statute of limitations, meaning that the state or your child’s other parent can attempt to pursue enforcement actions as long as there are outstanding payments. Even if you get a modification for future payments, past payments will still be owed.

Contact a Plano, Texas Child Support Attorney

Figuring out how to pay child support from jail can be stressful and complicated. Fortunately, the Law Office of Brian Bagley has experience dealing with complex child support cases. Attorney Bagley is an experienced Collin County child support lawyer who will help you understand your options under Texas law and advocate for your interests. Call us today at (972) 843-7158 for a free, confidential consultation.


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