Effect of Incarceration on Texas Divorce Proceedings

If divorce procedures are initiated when one party is imprisoned, certain pragmatic factors will affect the timing and direction of the proceedings. Firstly, some additional measures may be needed to ensure proper service of process on the incarcerated person, in accordance with rules of the particular detention facility. It is best to check with the detention facility at issue to assure compliance with their rules.

Secondly, the participation of the incarcerated person may become a problem as an appearance in person is obviously out of the question. Some detention facilities exact limitations on the capacity of a detainee to participate via phone. A Motion may want to be filed with the Court having jurisdiction over the jailed individual, to permit phone participation in the Texas divorce actions. In addition, another Motion may require to be filed with the TX Family Court, requesting authorization for the incarcerated party to participate via telephone. Contact with the incarcerated party to evaluate evidence, assess and perhaps resolve ancillary matters such as property division, spousal support or alimony, will pose further challenges.

While the Court will try to afford an incarcerated person all fair opportunity to participate in the proceedings, the incarcerated individual further has an obligation to take all feasible steps to assist with the requirements and timeline specified by the Texas Family Court. If the detained party can’t participate by phone, the Judge may require that written questions be submitted to the detainee, with a particular time frame for answers to be provided, to avoid unnecessary delay of the proceedings, while nevertheless allowing the incarcerated party a chance to participate.

Get the support you are entitled to

Are you a single parent who is struggling to make ends meet and not receiving the support for your kids that you are entitled to? Are you raising your children without financial aid from their non-custodial parent?

If you are the custodial parent, meaning the kids are living in your home more than 50% of the time, then you are qualified to receive child support benefits from the other parent.

The Family Court of the State of Texas uses a Child Support Formula Calculation as a guide to decide how much support the custodial parent will get. It gives you a broad idea of what the support expense may be. It may not be the specific amount that the Family Court will decree. It may be much greater or much less because the Family Court will make the final determination based on the testimony given at the mediation or hearing. You must be prepared to show pay stubs and tax returns to verify your income. The Family Court will also weigh other factors, such as additional dependents you may have, in determining your child support award.

The calculation provides for each parent to keep a minimum amount of income for their essential needs. Each child’s basic needs are taken into evidence before the parents may retain any further income for themselves. The parties may always deviate from the child support calculation if it is determined to be in the best interest of the child.

If you need assistance with filing Petitions or Motions with the Family Court, the Division of Child Support Enforcement is a comprehensive resource. They cannot give legal advice, but they can help you start the process of arranging a child support award for your child. Do not allow a non-custodial parent to intimidate or coerce you into not asking for the proper support for your children. The law is on your side.