If the other parent stops paying child support, can I stop him or her from seeing the kids?

No. For a variety of reasons, this is a bad idea. Child support and seeing the kids (also called timesharing or visitation) have nothing to do with each other in the eyes of the court. By holding child support over the head of the other parent by keeping them from the kids, you end up looking no better than the parent not paying child support. The court will call this “unclean” hands.

Sure, you are upset that the other parent is not paying child support. If there is a court order for the parent to pay child support, this is a court order that should be followed. If your spouse is a W-2 employee working for someone, consider requesting an income deduction/withholding order from the court. This order would allow the courts to take the child support payment directly out of the other parent’s paycheck. This may help with more consistency in payments.

If there is a court order regarding a Parenting Plan and how you and the other parent spend time with the kids, this is also a court order that should be followed. A parenting plan should be specific as to days and times and holidays and school breaks for timesharing with the children. If your plan is not specific, this can cause more confusion between the parents. Consider asking the court to help you clarify or make the plan more specific. It is also much easier to change if you and the other parent agree.

If you go into court, you want to have clean hands. You want to be able to show a judge that you did everything you were supposed to do. If you took a similar bad action and retaliated by not letting the parent see the children, they you are acting just a bad as they are. The court will say your hands are “unclean” also. A court cannot give you what you want if you are also a bad actor. You must be able to show the judge your hands are “clean”.

You also want to be able to show the judge that you tried to resolve the matter without coming to court. This means that you should not run to court the day after the child support payment is missed. What you could do instead, is send the parent a formal writing of some sort to try and resolve the situation. Send an email or a letter. A text could work in a pinch. For more information about what to do or not to do, see our blog post here: http://www.feherlaw.com/ex-allowed-stop-alimony-child-support-payments-without-court-order/.

 

If the other parent does not catch up or continues to not pay child support, consider filing a Motion for Contempt against them. A Motion for Contempt is when a party has been ordered to do something and they have not done it or they stopped doing it. After filing your Motion, you should set it for hearing with the judge. For more information about setting a hearing, see our blog post here: http://www.feherlaw.com/how-do-i-set-a-hearing/.

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