Spouse Behind Bars? What It Means To Your Parenting Agreement

Parenting agreements are the new catch-all term used to describe several child-centered issues during divorce. Everything from child custody and visitation to child support falls into the parenting agreement bucket. In most cases, great care must be used when creating the plan because they are often difficult to alter. When one parent is jailed for a long time, you might want to understand how it affects your parenting agreement. Read on for some guidance on what to expect.

Child Support May Not Be Altered

While it is possible to alter child support, judges are extremely reluctant to make changes when it comes to financially supporting a child. Just because your ex is now incarcerated is no reason to expect that child support obligations will cease. The only reason judges are willing to reduce the amount of child support, is most cases, is when a parent is seriously ill. Incarceration is not a valid reason for abandoning the support of a minor child. The incarcerated parent is very likely to leave prison owing thousands of dollars in back support.

How Child Support Is Handled

If your ex is incarcerated, don't assume they cannot honor the obligation, however. Speak to your family law attorney about other means of accessing the money. Some prisoners, for example, earn a salary while in prison. In addition, some own assets that can be used to pay child support. The judge can order assets like homes and vehicles liquidated to pay the support. In some cases, the judge may order a subpoena and examination of the financial affairs of the incarcerated to determine the chances of using assets to pay the support. To get started, take look at the financial disclosures of the ex provided during the divorce.

Custody and Visitation May Change

Depending on the parenting agreement, changes may be in order when it comes to custody and visitation. If you already have full physical custody, you may want to ask for full legal custody as well. This provides you with full custody of the child and allows you to make important decisions about the child's health, religion, and education without having to consult the other parent. If you don't want your child to be subject to prison visits, you might want to ask that the visitation plans be altered. If your child has a close relationship with the ex's parents, you might want to consider allowing the child to visit them instead. The point is not to allow the situation to happen without your input.

Speak to a family law attorney to learn more.