Featured News 2018 Child Support Is Not Payment for Visitation Rights

Child Support Is Not Payment for Visitation Rights

"I'm behind on child support payments, and my ex has denied me visitation with my kids. Is that legal?"

Absolutely not. Let's explain:

There's this myth that child support and child visitation rights are somehow related. While they both have to do with children of the marriage, they otherwise have no overlap. Your children (through the custodial spouse) have the right to a portion of the non-custodial parent's wages. The non-custodial parent has the right to see his or her kids. That's all there is to it.

These two rights are independent of each other, no matter what your spouse says. The court does not support denying one in response to the denial of the other. In other words, even if you're delinquent on child support payments, you still deserve to see your kids.

So What Do I Do If My Ex Isn't Letting Me See the Kids?

Ultimately, you'll have to bring him/her to court to sue for your visitation rights. Your ex may make a counter-claim about your lack of child support payments, but it should not affect your visitation rights claim. Judges frown upon parents using child support as a stick with which to control access to their children, so if you can prove that this was the case, you'll have a stronger case.

If your spouse is withholding child support from you, know that there are ways to hold them accountable. Keeping them from their children is not the right way though. The best way is to take them to court for not paying child support—the court has authority to garnish their wages if voluntary payment is not possible.

Keep in mind, mediation is a more affordable option in either case. The sooner you can come to an out-of-court solution with the other parent, the better off you (and your kids) will be.

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