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Child Support – Incarcerated Parents
Incarcerated parents face unique challenges while incarcerated and as they transition back to the community.
Being in prison or jail can make paying child support difficult or impossible. But the parent’s child support obligation does not stop. Child support orders remain in effect, monthly payments are expected and arrears can accrue.
If you go to jail or prison, tell your county child support worker. The child support office may be able to help.
Only a court order can change a child support obligation. Information about changing orders applies to many changes in income and family circumstances, including a parent's inability to pay due to incarceration.
Here are some frequently asked questions about support while a parent is incarcerated.
Can I get my child support reduced or stopped until I am out of prison?
Support orders can be modified if:
If any of the above is true, you may request your court order be changed by filing a motion with the court. The court will presume that there has been a substantial change of circumstances and also will presume that your support order is unreasonable and unfair if:
The court or the child support office will review your financial circumstances when you are released and set a new order based on your ability to pay. You should provide information about your employment status and efforts that you’ve made to get a full-time job to the court, the child support agency, and your child’s other parent. It is also important to give your child support worker and the court your new mailing address so you get your monthly billing statement and notices about changes on your case.
I have a child, but am not married to the mother. Is there a way to be recognized as my child’s legal father without going to court?
A couple that isn’t married and has a child together can sign a Recognition of Parentage form. This form establishes the man who signs the form as the legal father and allows the father’s name to be placed on the birth certificate. To be valid, the form must be signed by both parties in the presence of a notary and filed with the Minnesota Department of Health.
What if we’ve established parentage by signing the voluntary Recognition of Parentage and then change our minds?
During the first 60 days after signing, either parent can cancel the Recognition of Parentage by sending a written statement or revocation form to the Minnesota Department of Health. After 60 days, the parents cannot cancel the Recognition of Parentage and must file a motion asking the court to cancel it. However, if you get genetic tests that show the man who signed the form is not the biological father, you have six months after you get this information to ask the court to cancel the Recognition of Parentage.
My child’s other parent denies me any contact with my child. Can child support help me establish parenting time or get a change in custody?
The child support office is only authorized to provide certain services, which do not include issues of parenting time or custody.
I’m serving the last few months of my sentence. My driver’s license was suspended for non-payment of child support. What must I do to get my license reinstated?
You have several options.
My wife and I filed a federal joint tax return. We recently received a notice stating our refund was intercepted and applied to my child support arrears. How can my wife get her portion of the refund returned to her?
Your wife must file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation to request her portion of the joint refund. If it’s a state tax refund, contact your Child Support Officer.
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