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Do Incarcerated Parents Pay Child Support in Texas?


If you are facing criminal charges in Texas and you’re a noncustodial parent who pays child support, surely, you’re wondering if you would have to pay child support if you were sentenced to jail or prison – this is only normal to wonder.

In Texas and all states, parents are obligated to financially support their children, usually until they turn 18 or graduate high school, whichever happens later though some states say parents have to pay child support up until the age of 19 or even 21 (New York).

Parents have to support their children and that obligation does NOT end if a parent becomes unemployed, disabled, sick with a fatal disease, mentally ill or incarcerated.

What Texas Law Says

Like all states, parents’ obligation to pay child support does not end automatically because they become incarcerated. The child support obligation does not end, nor does it change (reduce) because the parent suddenly finds themselves behind bars. The only way a noncustodial parent can change the court-ordered child support amount is to petition the family court for a downward modification.

If you find yourself facing a jail or prison sentence, our advice is to request a “review and adjustment” of your current child support order. To find out if you are eligible for a downward modification, you’ll need to fill out the Inquiry Form for Incarcerated Parents.

“What if the incarcerated parent is behind bars?” In that case, the incarcerated parent can obtain the form at their facility. A lot of inmates are parents who pay child support, so this is a very common situation and the staff at the facility should be able to assist in the matter.

While a noncustodial parent is behind bars, the Office of the Attorney General can assign a designated representative to provide the parent with:

  • Information about their child support case
  • Information regarding the monthly child support and arrears owed
  • Reviewing their case to see if they can qualify for a downward modification
  • Information on setting up a paternity action

We hope you found this information helpful. If you are looking for legal representation in a criminal case, contact Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law.

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