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What an Incarcerated Parent Needs to Know About Child Support and Visitation

What an Incarcerated Parent Needs to Know About Child Support and Visitation

All parents have rights and obligations to their children, even a parent who is incarcerated. Although complications may arise, it is still possible for the parent-child relationship to survive a prison term. An incarcerated parent needs to understand key aspects of child support obligations and visitation that could affect their situation.

Child support payments

If a parent has a child support payment obligation prior to incarceration, this does not automatically cease when the prison term begins. A supporting parent can file a motion to modify the obligation by reducing or suspending the payments while serving their sentence. A child custody lawyer is best placed to advise you about how to proceed with this type of petition.

Ohio law provides a child support obligation can be reduced if the obligor can show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances not contemplated when the initial support order was made. If the obligor was employed before incarceration and has lost this income, the court may find that this constitutes a substantial change. However, any request for a modification carries a risk, since the court is at liberty to increase payments, retain them at their current levels, or reduce them. If the obligation to pay child support is not modified, payments will need to be back-paid upon release from prison.


Visitation rights are not categorically denied to incarcerated parents. As a rule, the court tries to ensure continuing contact between the child and each parent, provided that this is in the best interests of the child. However, where the noncustodial parent has physically or emotionally abused the child in the past, the court is likely to deny visitation rights. Similarly, visits that prove to be too traumatic for the child will most probably be denied or cancelled.

It is important to understand your rights and obligations as a parent serving a prison term. Accomplished child custody and visitation attorneys at the Dayton, OH firm of Fox and Associates can assist you in being a reliable parent even under these difficult circumstances. Call our offices today on (937) 204-1555 or contact us online.



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