Can I Refuse Visitation if My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support
Most of the time, people find themselves stuck in the sticky situation of not getting child support payments from their ex-spouse, and this is always a frustrating situation. Child support is a fundamental part for any single parent trying to raise their child, and it provides the funds one needs to ensure that their child is brought up in a stimulating environment.
However, when child support is not paid or even overdue, you might feel very overwhelmed and angry. Many parents wonder if they can refuse or limit their ex-spouse’s visitation unless or until child support is paid. It may seem like the only way to force your ex-spouse to pay child support; however, it will ruin your reputation in front of the judge in the process.
It would help if you understood that in the eyes of the law, child support and visitation are not linked together in any way. They are separate entities, and parents need not earn their visitation rights through the payment of child support.
What to Consider Before Refusing Visitation
While refusing visitation until you ex-spouse pays what is rightfully due to you will tarnish your image in front of the judge, it will also have many other adverse effects on your case, including the following:
Visitation Is Your Child’s Right
Your child has a right to develop a relationship with both parents, and it would be unjust and insensitive for you to refuse your child’s visitation rights. If the reason for non-payment is that the other parent cannot afford child support, then the child should not be punished by being kept away from the other parent.
Both Parents Are Responsible for the Finances
No matter what the circumstances are, both parents are responsible for taking care of the child’s financial needs. Some parents believe they can shirk the responsibility of paying child support by deciding to not be in the child’s life. However, this is not the case and not taking up the responsibility can be punishable by law.
Is It Legal to Refuse Visitation?
It is illegal to refuse visitation unless this refusal has been court-ordered. You cannot withhold the other parent’s right to see his or her child even if child support goes unpaid. If child support is serving as a significant issue, then you may want to contact a child visitation lawyer to understand what you can do to get the other parent to pay for child support.
If you believe that your child might be put in harm’s way because of visitation, you should contact the police immediately and inform them of the situation. Do not take the matter into your own hands at any cost and let the proper authorities handle the problem.
Then, What Should One Do if Child Support Is Not Being Paid?
If you need child support money to sustain your child, you might have to take an appropriate course of action to get what is due. Firstly, it would be best to contact the local Child Support Enforcement office and report your case to them. If you want your case handled properly, allow the courts to handle it for you as they can take proper legal action. The Child Support Enforcement office can place various sanctions depending on your case, including the garnishing of the other parent’s salary, immediate jail time for non-payment or even banning the other parent from getting a passport.
While you may think that denying the other parent their visitation rights will do little harm, it can have a lasting impact on your legal reputation and your child. So, consider all of the factors involved and allow the law to handle your case for you.