Once a child support order is issued, the non-custodial parent has an obligation to make his or her payments as directed by the court. When he or she fails, the custodial parent might be tempted to restrict access to the child or place other limitations on the non-custodial parent's relationship with the child. Depending on the action, the custodial parent could be in legal hot water.
Can You Prevent Visitation for Non-Payment?
When the non-custodial parent is not meeting his or her financial obligation to your child, it might be tempting to ignore visitation requests or restrict other forms of communications that he or she has with the child. However, you have a legal obligation to follow the existing custodial order. Refusing to honor the order could lead to contempt charge in court.
In family law, the courts support building a healthy relationship between parents and children. Child support and visitation are two separate issues. By withholding access to the child, you are keeping the non-custodial parent from forming a relationship with the child and that is problematic in the eyes of the law.
What Can You Do?
If the non-custodial parent is behind on his or her payments, you need to discuss the matter with him or her first. Ask for a deadline for meeting his or her financial obligation. If the other parent is experiencing financial difficulties and you are willing, you might be able to negotiate a temporary modification to the payment schedule.
If you do agree to a temporary modification, the court needs to be notified. Your attorney can draft the petition for the temporary order. It is important to note that the judge has the final say on whether the modification is necessary. If the judge does not agree, the non-custodial parent could be held to the current agreement and could face contempt charges if he or she does not meet the agreement.
What If the Missed Payments Continue?
There are several options available to collect the missed child support payments. You could ask the court for a wage garnishment of the non-custodial parent's earnings. The court could also take actions, such as denying a driver's license or passport renewal until the arrears have been paid.
In addition to this, you can file a lien on the non-custodial parent's property. The missed payments could also be reported to credit reporting agencies. This could have an impact on his or her ability to secure credit in the future.
Talk to an attorney to further discuss how to deal with missed child support payments.