How To Get Custody Of Children When Custodial Parent In Jail?

Many people are surprised to learn that when a custodial parent goes to jail, their parenting and visitation rights can be preserved. Thankfully, there are several ways to preserve these rights and ensure that children remain well-cared for when their parents go to prison. 

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The First Step Is to Prepare and File a Petition for Modification

If you are an incarcerated parent, you have the right to file a petition for modification of your child support order when you are in jail. There is a Do-It-Yourself packet available at Washington LawHelp and in some courthouses that includes all the information you need to prepare and file a child support modification petition while you are in jail. 

The second step is to provide the other parent with a copy of your petition for modification so that they can respond to it on time. The judge will review your case and if it is in your best interests to have your child support modified, the judge may grant it. 

What to Expect if You Have a Child Support Order with an Incarcerated Parent

When you have a child support order, you and the other parent have a legal obligation to pay it. When a parent goes to jail, it can severely impact their ability to pay and negatively affect your children. It also can significantly increase your child’s risk of poverty and even lead to a change in your custody arrangement. 

As a result, it is important to know your options before you decide to get involved in the court system. This will help you to protect your children and manage your finances as much as possible during this difficult time. 

Getting Custody of Your Child When Custodial Parent in Jail

The court will usually make a custody decision in the most beneficial way for your child. It will consider several factors, including whether there are any other arrangements already in place and the current parenting plan. 

Depending on the nature of your charges and conviction, your parental rights may be stripped. Charges involving crimes of child abuse, neglect or sexual abuse could be used to strip your rights completely. 

In addition, if the charges are related to violent crimes, such as murder or assault, the judge might consider it unfit for you to have custody of your child and will determine that the other parent would be better suited to care for your child. 

It is not uncommon for a custody case to be resolved when the incarcerated parent is released from prison and is free on bond. However, this is a rare case and depends on the circumstances of each individual situation. 

If a court finds that the incarcerated parent was able to maintain contact with their children while in prison and that the parents have a good relationship, the judge might grant them joint custody. This will give both parents a fair amount of time with their children while the custody case is in progress.