How Will Incarceration Affect Your Parenting Plan?
Divorcing parents may place a great deal of time and effort into creating a parenting plan that is fair and easy to follow. Unfortunately, things can change, and the need may arise for altering the plan. When a parent is incarcerated, it can affect a parenting plan in a major way. Read on to find out what might happen to what used to be a great plan for dealing with custody, visitation, and child support after a divorce.
The Best Interests of the Child
The above way of looking at things means that any issue involving minor-aged children is never completely closed. Many things can happen as the child gets older, as the parents become ill or lose their jobs, and as the usual life changes occur. While it's not exactly simple or easy to make changes to a parenting plan, making those changes can be a lot easier than it is to change other aspects of divorce like marital property agreements or spousal support orders. A parent's first step, regardless of the issue, is to speak to a family law or divorce attorney and have them request a hearing before a judge. An incarcerated parent situation almost certainly will prompt a need for a reexamination of the parenting plan.
Parenting Issues In Line for a Change
Child Support – You might think that an incarcerated parent would be off the hook for their child support obligation, but that is not correct. Almost nothing relieves the responsible parent of paying what they owe. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you can automatically expect any money from an incarcerated parent. You might need to take action in an effort to be paid by using the assets of an incarcerated parent. For example, if they own a home, the judge has the power to order it be sold to pay a child support obligation. When the parent emerges from jail, any unpaid support will still be owed.
Custody and Visitation – Another major part of any parenting plan is where the child resides and the type of custody and visitation plans that follow. Naturally, an incarcerated parent will be unable to retain physical custody of a child. However, custody may not automatically go to the other parent either. Judges can order a grandparent or other relative to have temporary custody if the parent is unfit to parent. Visitation may or may not be allowed, depending on the situation and age of the children.
Speak to a family lawyer to learn more.