Law Office of Ellen Dixius

What do I do about back child support that added up behind bars?

Texas is one of the worst states to owe child support in America. From potentially losing driving privileges to facing jailtime, Texas stops at almost nothing to get child support money. But, what about parents that are unable to pay because they are incarcerated?

When they complete their sentence, many of these former inmates find themselves carrying the burden of back child support. Coupled with the difficulties of finding a decent job with a record, repaying that child support sometimes seems impossible.

According to CNN, incarceration can turn child support debt into a serious financial problem. Many inmates incorrectly believe that they are excused from paying child support when they are behind bars, but learn otherwise when they are released. Because of this, they often find themselves owing several times the original amount. Court mandated interest on the amount accruing also makes it worse.

There are some organizations that offer inmates support and help you to understand your options before release. Potential options may include coming to a peaceful agreement with the custodial parent regarding payments. This may help them to lower the amount of debt they need to repay. It may also help them to avoid the following sanctions:

  •          Seizure of property
  •          Cancelled passport
  •          Lowered credit score
  •          Returning to jail for failure to pay

In a desperate effort to care for your child, one of the big mistakes you might make is to pay cash directly to the custodial parent when you can, after release. Unfortunately, this does not count toward the debt on record. You may be better off ensuring that any money provided to the custodial parent goes on record or is provided through officially established means. Otherwise, it may not make a dent in your debt load.

This article provides information on child support accruing behind bars. It should not be used as legal or financial advice.

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