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What should I think about regarding a child if I'm going to jail?

Child custody matters are complicated and take a lot of time to sort through. When a child's parent goes to jail or prison, this can complicate the situation.

Many people wonder exactly how incarceration affects child custody issues. In truth, a parent's incarceration can derail parenting plans and impact the way the parent gets to interact with the child in the future.

How should a parent prepare for the possibility of incarceration?

In some cases, the parent who is going to jail will be able to just let the child's other parent care for the child. When that isn't possible, the parent needs to try to find an alternate person to keep the child. Parents can't just choose anyone to care for their children. Instead, the person they choose should be someone the court will recognize as able to care for the child. There are some instances in which nobody is available. In those cases, the child might end up going to foster care.

What will happen when the parent is released?

There is no guaranteed course of action that will occur when the parent gets out of prison. If the court stepped in before the parent went to prison, the parent will likely have to go back through the court system to regain custody of the child. This can often be an arduous process.

If you are facing this situation, you should take the time to learn about the options you have for dealing with the circumstances. This might help you to determine which options might be best for your child.

Source: FindLaw, "What Happens When Custodial Parent Goes to Jail?," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed April 20, 2017

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