Dealing with a parent who refuses to stay current on their child support can lead to plenty of anger and frustration. Sometimes, parents try to handle the problem by revoking visitation rights until the other parent pays the support they owe.
While it’s understandable to try and take any action you can to get the money your children need, preventing the other parent from seeing their children is almost always a bad idea. In this article, we’ll explain why and talk about what you can do instead.
Revoking Visitation Rights Until You Receive Payment Is Risky
While you might see child support and child custody as part of the same big picture, the court views them as separate issues. A parent’s failure to pay child support could eventually factor into a court’s order regarding custody, but failing to follow a child support order has no immediate effect on any other court orders. So, if you try to prevent the other parent from exercising the visitation rights granted to them by a court order, you could be in contempt.
Violating a court order comes with serious consequences. The court can impose additional hearings, fines, make-up visits, child support suspension, and in extreme cases, loss of custody. These long-term ramifications could be much worse for you and your children than missing the few late payments you are fighting to receive.
And you don’t just risk losing the court’s favor when you withhold visitation. The court can also hold you in contempt and even send you to jail for violating the custody agreement. At minimum, a contempt hearing will cost you time and money, and it’s something you should avoid.
But just because you can’t withhold visitation doesn’t mean your ex can fail to pay child support and get away with it. You can force them to pay what they owe or face the consequences, but you need to go about it the right way — with help from an experienced attorney.
RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: What You Need to Know About North Carolina Child Support
An Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights and Enforce a Child Support Order
The consequences of violating a court order cut both ways. If your ex refuses to pay child support, they’re in violation, and they risk being held in contempt and receiving fines or even jail time. Your lawyer can bring the unpaid support to the court’s attention and file motions that could cause your ex to face collection measures like garnished wages, a judgment against them, and a suspended driver’s license or hunting license. Best of all, these options will keep you in the court’s good graces and won’t put you in danger of violating a court order.
In cases where you and your ex reside in different states, additional federal laws protect your right to child support. For example, if the child support order was made in North Carolina, where you and your children reside, the North Carolina court retains authority over the matter no matter where your ex moves. The state court has sole authority to amend the order, and only that court’s order is enforceable. The benefit of this provision is that your ex can’t move to another state to escape their child support obligations.
For more detailed information about your options when the other parent refuses to pay court-ordered child support, read our previous blog article on this subject.
RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: What to Do When the Other Parent Won’t Pay Child Support
Myers Law Firm: Helping Parents in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Collect Child Support
At Myers Law Firm, our family law attorneys are here to support you and fight for your rights during the challenges of a divorce and the accompanying legal matters like child custody and child support. If the other parent owes child support and refuses to pay, we can help you hold them accountable without violating any existing court orders.
For more information on how our family law attorneys can help you, schedule an initial consultation by filling out our convenient online contact form or calling our Charlotte office toll-free at 1-888-376-ATTY (2889).
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.