I quit paying child support after my minor son was sent to juvenile and locked up for several years.
Now that he is out of jail, they are coming after my for the child support I didn’t pay while he was locked up.
Do I have to pay for child support for the time my son was in jail?
This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Indiana and am thus unable to provide any legal advice on divorce on the child support laws in other states.
The general rule of thumb is that you are expected to support your child until they reach the age of emancipation (21 in my state) unless there is some form of disability or incapacitation which could extend the time you are required to support your son indefinitely.
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There are, however, certain circumstances which can cause your child to become emancipated. In Indiana, if one of the following events listed occurs you may be alleviated from your child support duty:
1) The child is at least 18 and has not been attending school for 4 months and is capable of supporting themselves;
2) Is on active duty with a branch of the U.S. armed forces;
3) Is married; or
4) Is not under the care or control of either parent and is not living with a court-approved agency or person.
Without some incapacitation, child support should have terminated by law on the child’s 21st birthday.
You may have an arrearage for the years he went to juvenile that you did not pay that someone is trying to collect. I think a strong argument could be made that he should have been emancipated at the age of 18 and 4 months.
I also think that you could argue under number 4 above that a Department of Correction is not what is contemplated by “court-approved agency or person.” This would have emancipated the child upon his incarceration.
If it is mom who is seeking the arrearage and son was locked up then she isn’t entitled to the money since she wasn’t caring for the child either. If it is the state looking to collect, then you may owe for his incarceration or a portion of it anyways.
Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights, I urge you to contact a family law attorney