By David J. Marquardt of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in Family Law on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.
Can I withhold Visitation if I don’t receive child support?
Not receiving court ordered child support can be extraordinarily frustrating. You count on those funds each and every month to help pay for things that benefit your child, such as food, clothes and housing. It is especially frustrating when the non-paying parent also has court ordered visitation on a regular basis.
But can you withhold court ordered visitation from a parent who doesn’t pay child support?
The short answer is “no.” Courts have routinely held that child support and visitation are separate issues, and a parent who withholds court ordered visitation (even if it is because they are not receiving support) is equally in violation of a court order as the parent who is not paying court ordered support. In other words, if you withhold visitation from a non-paying parent, you are also facing contempt of court charges.
So, what should you do if you aren’t receiving some or all of your court ordered child support?
First, you should let the nonpaying parent know in writing what you allege they have failed to do, and what you expect to happen in the future. In doing so, you should state that they have failed to pay support pursuant to the applicable court order (and that they are in violation of the order), and the amount they have failed to pay. You should further state that you expect to be paid the arrearage amount immediately, and that you expect to be paid the full amount, on time, each and every month.
Second, you should consult with an attorney to determine what your legal rights are, and which options you should pursue. It can be expensive to hire an attorney to file a petition with the court to have your ex held in contempt for failure to pay. That being said, often times you can recover your costs (including attorney’s fees) if you are forced to pursue a court action for nonpayment of support.
If you find yourself requiring an attorney to collect past due support, and would like to discuss the details of your specific situation, call Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt P.C. for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.