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Central Florida Family Law Attorney

At the law office of Kenneth C. Gallagher, we have been fighting for the rights of men and women in central Florida for more than 12 years. An experienced family law attorney and mediator, Mr. Gallagher takes an aggressive, yet humane, a…

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Family Law Blog Post

Visitation and an Incarcerated Parent

All parents have rights and obligations to their children, even a parent who is in prison. There are complications that arise when a parent is incarcerated, but it remains possible for the parent/child relationship to survive a prison term. The state of Florida publishes a comprehensive guide to help incarcerated parents understand their rights and obligations to their families.

A parent who is incarcerated can make certain decisions regarding the care of his or her child:

  • Child support obligation — If a prisoner was obligated to pay child support prior to incarceration, that obligation continues during the prison term. A supporting parent can submit a motion for support modification, which might include a request to reduce or suspend payments in light of the prison sentence.
  • Visitation — As long as the offense did not involve child abuse or sexual misconduct, an incarcerated parent can petition for visitation rights. A child under 17 must be accompanied by a court-approved adult. The court tries to always rules in the best interest of the child, and visitation might be denied or canceled if the child finds the experience traumatic.
  • Guardianship — An imprisoned parent may select both a legal and physical guardian for a child if necessary. A relative may care for a prisoner’s child, or the child might be placed in a foster home.  Note however, that the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 specifies that the court may terminate the parental rights of an incarcerated parent after a child has spent 15 months in foster care, so that the foster family can formally adopt the child.

If you are a parent serving a prison term, know your parenting rights. A parents’ rights attorney can assist you in being the best parent you can under these difficult circumstances. Call the Law Office of Kenneth C. Gallagher at 407-897-1119, or contact us online.

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