It is unfortunate that sometimes a noncustodial parent in California will do something illegal. While some crimes are penalized by perhaps no more than a slap on the wrist, other times a person will face years in prison for a crime they committed. This has implications on the child support the incarcerated noncustodial parent is responsible for.
If a noncustodial parent is incarcerated for a period of time lasting longer than 90 days, then their duty to pay child support will be temporarily suspended. Once the noncustodial parent is freed, their child support obligation will start up again, and they will be responsible for paying the same amount they would have owed prior to incarceration.
There are some exceptions to this temporary suspension. First, if a noncustodial parent is able to meet their child support obligations even though they are incarcerated, their child support obligations will not be automatically suspended. If a noncustodial parent is incarcerated because they committed an act of domestic violence against the child's custodial parent or the child, then their child support obligations will not be automatically suspended. Finally, if a noncustodial parent is incarcerated because they are delinquent in paying their court-ordered child support, then their child support obligations will not be automatically suspended.
If, after serving their time in jail, a noncustodial parent cannot meet their child support obligations, they must move the court to have these payments modified. Keep in mind that any modifications the court may order are not retroactive. The noncustodial parent will be responsible for the prior amounts due up until the point of modification.
When a noncustodial parent is incarcerated for more than three months, it can be difficult for that parent to meet their child support obligations. The state of California recognizes this and, with some exceptions, will temporarily suspend one's child support obligations in such circumstances. While this measure eases the burden on the noncustodial parent, it can make life difficult for the child's custodial parent who is depending on such payments. After all, child support is calculated in a way that is meant to provide the custodial parent with the financial means necessary to raise the child. Therefore, if a noncustodial parent is being sent to prison for an extended period of time, both the noncustodial parent and the custodial parent may want to make sure they understand their options and obligations.