Child support is not a punishment. It is a way for the state to guarantee that both parents support and care for a child. However, to some in Missouri, it may seem like a punishment. Specifically, if you are in prison, having a child support obligation can become a nightmare.

According to CNN, you owe child support and must honor the order even if you are in prison or do not have a job. While in prison, you may earn a very small amount of money. This income is typically not enough to cover child support payments, so you will likely fall behind on what you owe.

When you fall behind on your support payments, you may have additional charges to your account, including fees, penalties and interest. This can increase the amount you owe in arrears substantially. Having this huge debt adding up while you are locked up could lead to you returning to jail as soon as you get released. It may also cost you your driver’s license, ruin your credit and lead to property seizure.

Even if you get out and get a job, it may not help a lot. You could end up handing over most of your income to child support because the debt is so high.

You may be able to get counseling or other services from the prison system that can help lower your support obligation. However, you may need additional help after you get released to ensure you can get your child support situation back under control. This information is for education and is not legal advice.