When a Californian is facing criminal charges and they’re subsequently convicted, it doesn’t mean their financial obligations come to a grinding halt. Convicted offenders still have leases, mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans to pay. But what about child support, do offenders still have to pay that while they’re in jail or prison?
Since there are so many single and divorce parents out there, we hear this question from our clients a lot.They want to know, “Does my child support obligation automatically stop because I’m behind bars?”
Incarceration Does Not Stop Child Support
As a noncustodial parent, it’s important to know that the state views incarceration a lot like unemployment. Being out of work is not an excuse to stop paying child support, and neither is incarceration. Child support does not automatically stop accruing because a paying parent is in jail or prison. But, that doesn’t mean an incarcerated parent can’t get relief, which we’ll explain below.
If you are convicted of a crime in California and sentenced to jail or prison, you will still be responsible for child support while you’re incarcerated until the family court changes the child support order. If you do nothing and you can’t pay while you’re behind bars, you will still owe your regular monthly obligation, plus 10% interest on any child support arrears until the court reduces the child support order.
“So, what do I do if I find out I’m going to be incarcerated?” Promptly file a motion with the family court that made the order to change the child support amount.
There’s no way that the family court can reduce your child support until you file the appropriate court papers, asking the court for a downward modification. If the court decides to change the monthly support amount, the earliest date it can change it is the date that you filed the court papers.
Next: What is a Dismissal in California?
Contact the Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free case evaluation with an East Bay criminal attorney who’s on your side!