This is true even if the non-custodial parent is not paying their child support. American Bar Association. Most judges are not sympathetic with a father who has failed to pay his child support obligation unless that father had an illness or disability that left him unable to earn a wage. If the court finds that someone has the ability to pay support but is willfully not paying it, it can find that the person ordered to pay support is in contempt of court. "Wouldn't it finally force my ex to pay up?" What Happens If Child Support Isn't Paid?. After all, they reason, when the child is with the non-custodial parent, that parent is responsible for meeting all of the child's needs. Having that much anger is understandable, but you might want to think twice before you actually withhold visitation for unpaid child support. How much time each parent spends with the child doesn't affect it, unless there is a complete change in the custody arrangements, or if a shared parenting plan is implemented where the child spends equal time with each parent. Although visitation may be modified with the consent of both parents or by the court, it is unlikely that the court will completely sever visits between the delinquent parent and the child. Changing Visitation for the Wrong Reasons, Child Visitation Problems - When Your Child Won't Go. Do Incarcerated Parents Still Have to Pay Child Support Payments? Frustrated enough to withhold visitation? Sometimes custodial parents feel as if this is an effective way of getting the other parent to pay. Stopping one to get the other isn't fair to your child. Therefore, if the child spends an entire week during the summer with the non-custodial parent, no child support should be owed for that week. American Bar Association. They are two separate issues. Withholding Visitation for Unpaid Child Support, Ⓒ 2020 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved. For most divorced families, custody and visitation were set up simultaneously with child support. Andrea Rice is an award-winning journalist and a freelance writer, editor, and fact checker specializing in health and wellness. Not necessarily, and it could actually hurt your good standing with the judge presiding over your case.. You may also find it helpful to document your concerns in a journal so that you can accurately recall specific instances should it later becomes necessary for you to testify your concerns. Again, it's best not to fall into the trap of withholding visitations over unpaid child support. Child support and visitation are two separate issues. Because child support and visitation are two separate issues, a parent who does not pay the required child support cannot be denied visitation with the child. Do you ever get frustrated with your ex about unpaid child support? Child support is a fixed amount which only can be changed by a court order. In desperation, many parents wonder why they can't just withhold visitation in response to unpaid child support. But beyond that, what happens with your parenting plan has no impact on child support. Before you go so far as to withhold visitation for unpaid child support, consider the following: It's important to note that any legitimate concerns about your child's safety should be addressed, but that is generally separate from the issue of whether your ex is paying child support in full or on time., If you are reluctant to send your child on court-ordered visits because you fear for their safety, you should contact the court that issued the visitation order and speak with a qualified child custody lawyer in your state.. Parents don't "earn" the right to a relationship with their child by paying child support. A parenting agreement can include a wide variety of details including which parent will have primary custody, specifics on the other parents visitation periods, particulars on which parent will make decisions … Therefore any attempt to withhold visitation—except in situations where you believe your child is in danger—could ultimately be used against you in court. It makes no difference if the child spends one day or 7 days a week with the other parent, child support is not affected. Not paying child support can have very serious consequences. 2015;12(6):628-636. doi:10.1080/15433714.2014.992697. Legally, one does not depend on the other. I've been paying child support with no visitation but today when I called the child support division, they didn't have my file register in the system. Other expenses, such as educational and shared medical expenses, are also not affected by the parenting schedule unless the court orders a modification. While many parents who do not have full-time physical custody of their children also pay child support, the courts treat matters of visitation/parenting time and child support as separate issues. What to Do When You Fear for Your Kids' Safety During Visitation, How the Non-Custodial Parent Can Be a Part of Their Child's Life, How to Have Alternatives and Modify Your Family's Visitation Schedule, Tips to Help Single Fathers Get Child Custody, The Right Way to Handle Concerns About Court-Ordered Visitation, How to Collect Child Support in Another State, Know the Rules for Joint Custody Child Support, Determining Custody for the Child's Best Interests, Self-esteem in children in joint physical custody and other living arrangements. Get expert tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy. It seems like that would be logical, but it just doesn't work that way. Yet, many non-custodial parents paying child support complain that their former spouse does not honor these visitation rules. Because child support and visitation are two separate issues, a parent who does not pay the required child support cannot be denied visitation with the child. Turunen J, Fransson E, Bergström M. Self-esteem in children in joint physical custody and other living arrangements. If the non-custodial parent if responsible for medical expenses, you should be reimbursed even if you take your child to the doctor.