Can I Stop Paying Child Support if I Can't See My Kids?

If you are the noncustodial parent and your child’s other parent is not letting you see your children, you may be wondering if you can stop paying child support. We bring this up because, in every state across the country, it happens every day: A noncustodial parent (usually the father, but not always) is being barred from seeing his or her children. This person’s ex-partner or spouse is not letting them see their children during their court-ordered parenting time.

When a parent is blocked from seeing their children, a common reaction is for them to lash back by withholding child support. The logic is, “If you won’t let me see my kids, I’m not going to pay you child support” or “Since I can’t see my kids, I don’t have to pay child support.” Either way, it’s important for noncustodial parents who pay child support to know these are common misconceptions.

Child Support & Custody Aren’t Linked

If your child’s other parent bars you from seeing your children, you cannot stop paying child support because child support and child custody are not linked. They are separate cases. If you intentionally stop paying child support and you fall behind on payments, it can lead to all kinds of adverse consequences, such as driver license suspension, interest, UD passport denial, wage garnishment, and so on.

But it goes further. If the court discovers that you willfully didn’t pay child support when you had the financial ability, you can be held in contempt of court, which can have serious ramifications, including jail time. However, this enforcement tool is only used when all other enforcement tools have failed.

Note: If your ex isn’t letting you see your children, it’s vital that you go back to court to ensure that your parenting time is enforced by the court. You have rights, and it’s essential that you take advantage of the court’s help.

Next: Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody?

Need legal assistance with a child support or custody matter in Orange County? Contact Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP to schedule a free consultation.

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