Child Support While a Parent Is Incarcerated

 Posted on December 18, 2023 in Family Law

DuPage County family law attorneyA court order enforces the non-custodial parent to make payments on child support. But what happens when the non-custodial parent is unable to make the payments due to incarceration? Even while incarcerated, a parent’s responsibility to their children does not change. If an Illinois court has ordered child support payments, then that parent is still expected to make those payments. For issues related to child support, it is best to consult a family law or divorce attorney to answer any questions you may have.  

What is Child Support?

Payments are made to provide for the care of a parent’s children. The payments are often court-ordered unless a plan is created by the parents that does not involve the court. However, child support payments established outside of the court are not enforceable by the court.

Incarceration Does Not Prevent an Order of Support

The Illinois Attorney General says that a parent cannot collect child support payments from a non-custodial parent while they are incarcerated or unemployed. However, the debt will continue to accumulate during the time of incarceration or unemployment.

An example would be if an incarcerated father has been in prison for around five months without making child support payments during the period. Once he is released from prison, the father is still on the hook for five months’ worth of child support payments. Prison or jail is no excuse for missing child support payments, as the needs of the child outweigh the issues a parent brings on themselves. For this reason, a judge will often not dismiss a parent’s child support obligations completely during a prison sentence.

What an Incarcerated Parent Can Do About Child Support Payments

An incarcerated parent can petition the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) for a review of their case for a chance at a child support reduction while they undergo their time in prison. A modification to child support owed will require a substantial change in circumstances which incarceration may fall under. However, this option will only be a temporary one. Support is unlikely to be suspended while incarcerated, but a parent who receives work release can have their wages garnered for child support payments owed, in part or whole.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney

When facing incarceration, you should get out ahead of your child support payments, if possible, to avoid debt accumulation while doing the time. You may benefit from having an experienced Hinsdale, IL child support lawyer on your side when attempting to get a reduction in payments. Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can assist you in filing a petition with the DHFS before or during your prison term. Contact the office at 630-920-8855 for free consultation and legal advice.

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