Can I Withhold Visitation If The Other Parent Fails To Pay Child Support?
If you are a divorced parent in Florida receiving child support and the other parent is being non-supportive, you may be tempted to punish them by withholding visitation, now called timesharing. You might be thinking that if you withhold timesharing, it will motivate the other parent to pay up. So, can you withhold visitation if the other parent is not making child support payments? You can withhold visitation, but the concern should not be whether you can deny the other parent the opportunity to see their child. The question should be, should you withhold visitation if your child’s other parent fails to pay child support? The answer to this is NO. Withholding visitation because the other parent has not paid child support can cause problems.
Why You Should Not Withhold Timesharing
Firstly, you need to note that in Florida, timesharing and child support are two completely different issues that are treated as such. Timesharing is not connected to child support.
That said, you should not withhold visitation because it is against Florida law. If you withhold timesharing, two breaches of the divorce ruling will have occurred. Your ex-spouse’s refusal to make child support payments and your refusal to honor the court-ordered timesharing agreement. Refusing to pay child support and withholding parental visitation can both result in contempt of court charges, fines, and other penalties.
Secondly, you should avoid withholding timesharing because by doing so, you are punishing your child. You are also using your child to manipulate the other parent or push them into making child support payments. Judges do not support this type of behavior. Judges in Florida are focused on the best interests of children. If you withhold timesharing, the court may determine that your behavior is contrary to your child’s best interest. This could result in the court deciding to award custody, now called parental responsibility, to the other parent.
Furthermore, research suggests that the more a parent is involved in their child’s life, the more they are willing to make child support payments and fulfill other financial obligations. If you deny the other parent the chance to see their child, they may grow hostile and become more resistant to making payments.
You should only withhold visitation if you believe allowing your ex-spouse to see your child will put your child in danger. In such a situation, get help from law enforcement and speak to an attorney.
What Should You Do if the Other Parent Is Not Paying Child Support?
If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, instead of withholding timesharing, you should contact a qualified child support lawyer. In Florida, parents have several avenues of recourse to force the other parent to make child support payments. For example, an attorney can help you to petition the court to enter an income withholding order. If the judge enters this order, the child support will be deducted directly from your ex-spouse’s paycheck.
Contact an Orlando Child Support Lawyer
While it may be tempting to withhold visitation if your child’s other parent is not paying child support, you should avoid doing so, as it could have negative consequences. Reach out to our Orlando child support lawyers at the Arwani Law Firm for help enforcing the child support order.