It's almost an everyday scenario. Once a week, I meet people at the office, at the courthouse or on the street. Folks ask about parenting time and child support. I wrote this blog to help.
Do I have to pay?
He's not paying child support. I will not let him see the child. He's not letting me see the child. I will stop paying support. Statements like these are from people who do not understand the needs of a child or the law. Parenting time and child support are NOT the same thing. They are two separate issues. So you ask the question; do I have to pay child support if I don't get to see the kids? The answer is YES!
Find a way
You cannot stop a parent from seeing their child because they are not paying child support. If there is an Order for the other parent to see the child that Order is as important as the child support Order. A custodial parent cannot withhold the non-custodial parent's rights to visit. Do not take the custody laws into your own hands. Never strike back at the other parent by withholding the child or child support money. If there is an Order let the court enforce the Orders. Not paying and Not visiting are both possible Contempt of Court cases. Be careful.
Support All the Way
Child support is a different issue. Both parents are responsible for caring for a child. What does it mean to pay child support? "Support" means money. Support also means emotional, spiritual and educational support. Both parents owe the child their support. In a perfect world both parents would try to first do what is best for the child. Mom and Dad should work together so that the child has a good relationship with the other parent. Remember, you chose to create the child, the child did not chose you. Do your duty. Parents should work together to support a parent child relationship with the other parent.
Are there times when you should withhold time?
Keep your child safe. Do you think the other parent will hurt the child? Is the other person driving the child around while they are drunk? Is the other parent using drugs with the child? If there is a danger to your child bring this to the court. See a lawyer. Follow the Order AND protect your child. Consult with a lawyer before you stop visitation.
Are there times when you should withhold child support?
Be VERY careful. If you are thinking about not paying file a petition with the court. Explain to the judge why you should not pay support. If you do not pay set the money aside in case the judge tells you to pay. Remember your child still eats, wears clothes and has needs. Do you think the other parent wastes the money? Do you think the other parent should spend the child support money in another way? Are you ordered to pay? How the money is used is not your concern. If you believe the child is not cared for file a petition and ask for custody or primary parenting time. In all situations spend some time with a family law attorney and get help.
Its about the child
Following the court order will be the most important thing you can do. Both parents should work together even if they live apart. Always focus on what is best for your child. Give each other a chance to become the best parent for your child. You do not want your child to only see Mom or Dad when they are standing in front of a judge.
Confident or Confused?
I hope this blog has been helpful. My desire is that you are the best parents for your child. That was my goal. If I created more questions do not hesitate to ask. Go out and be the best parent your child deserves.