Can I Withhold Visitation if My Spouse Does Not Pay Child Support?
Orange County Custody & Visitation Lawyers
DISCLAIMER: The following is not meant to be legal advice. It offers alternatives,
tips, and resources for those with no means to hire an attorney. For a
more thorough explanation of child support, child custody, and/or child
visitation, please review the applicable sections in the California Family Code.
Disputes over the payment of
child support are a common problem in
Family Law. If you are the primary custodial parent of your child, getting the non-custodial
parent to make child support payments can sometimes be difficult. Preventing
the non-custodial parent from seeing his or her child may seem like an
effective and easy way to force the non-custodial parent to pay child support.
However, interfering with the non-custodial parent’s court-ordered visitation
is prohibited under the
California Family Code, and could lead to you facing serious penalties.
Under the California Family Code, a child support order is separate from a
child custody/visitation order. Because of this, if the non-custodial parent fails to pay child
support, you cannot prevent the other parent from visiting his or her
child. In fact, if you prevent the other parent from visiting his or her child,
you will be the one subject to potentially serious penalties. There are several
remedies the court can employ if you prevent visitation. These include:
- Holding you in contempt of court. This can be effectuated through fines
- Terminating or reducing the amount of spousal support owed to you;
- Requiring you to post a bond in order to ensure compliance with the visitation order;
- Requiring you to pay financial compensation to the other parent in the
form of attorney's fees or otherwise and;
- You could lose custody of your child.
If the non-custodial parent refuses to pay his or her child support obligations,
then the best course of action for you to take is to seek enforcement
of the child support order through the court. This can be accomplished
through a request for arrears. But, make sure you remain consistent with
allowing the other parent his or her court ordered custody time, so as
to remain in the court’s good graces.