Don’t withhold visitation if he’s not paying child support

Posted September 16th, 2016.

Categories: Child Custody, Custody Tips, Family Law.


Judges and lawyers frequently find themselves dealing with motions in court because one party prohibited the other party from visiting the children because he failed to pay child support. The opposite is also true: We often hear about a party who refuses to pay child support because the custodial parent has refused to afford him access and parenting rights with the children. What’s fair is fair, right?

Wrong. The right to visitation and the right to support are independent rights. They belong to the child, not to the parents. Therefore, when a mother refuses to allow a father — who doesn’t pay his child support — to see the child, she’s punishing the child. Judges generally refuse to cancel visitation rights to delinquent child support obligors. And they likewise refuse to suspend support orders for disobedient custodial parents who don’t follow visitation orders.

In such cases, a judge may hold the non-compliant party in contempt of court. Other court orders may be issued to correct or enforce the situation. But, as a general rule, judges don’t like to see parents penalizing each other by withholding visitation rights or child support. Such tactics hurt the children and only serve to blemish everybody’s reputation in court.

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