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Do I Have To Allow Visitation If My Ex Won’t Pay Child Support?

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When you and your former spouse split, you hammered out a number of agreements.  Inconsequential issues like who got the couch and who got the big screen took some time, but nothing was more emotionally draining and time consuming than coming up with a custody and visitation plan and agreeing on the appropriate amount of child support. It took some time, yes, but ultimately an agreement was reached and the divorce was finalized. Now, however, it’s been a long while since you’ve received a child support check.  Given that the support was more or less in exchange for visitation, are you allowed to withhold visitation?

Correction, Please! 

First things, first!  The order for child support is not in exchange for visitation.  Child support is exactly what the name implies—funds dedicated to supporting a child in as close to the lifestyle enjoyed prior to divorce as practical.  It is a parental obligation that exists apart from visitation or any other parts of a divorce agreement.

Visitation, like child support, exists as part of a parenting plan that is independent of other parts of a divorce agreement. A custodial parent is obliged to comply with the parenting plan regardless of the status of child support payments.

What Recourse is Available Then? 

It is undoubtedly very frustrating to feel as though your ex is holding all the cards—you’re not getting the child support you need, but you have to allow the agreed upon visitation anyway.  Florida law lays out an expectation that all children are entitled to frequent and continuing contact with both parents.  And it makes sense that in most situations, children will, indeed, benefit from solid relationships with both parents. So what can you do about the child support issue?  Actually, there are multiple potential remedies:

Work with the Child Support Enforcement Division to do the following:

  • Have wages garnished from the non-custodial parents checks;
  • Let the IRS intercept a tax refund to pay back child support;
  • Freeze the non-custodial parent’s bank accounts;
  • Seek to place a lien on property;
  • Work to have professional licensure, along with the driver’s license and vehicle registration suspended;
  • Block access to a U. S. passport;
  • Take your ex back to family court and hope for contempt charges, resulting in penalties such as time behind bars for noncompliance.

Some of these solutions may be more severe than the problem justifies, while others may be just the ticket. Your local family law attorney can help you determine the best course of action.

Kids First 

At WiseLieberman, our Boca Raton child support attorneys understand the conundrum. These situations require that you put your child’s interests first and foremost. Naturally, the financial support you are counting on is aimed at providing for your child, and you have every right and obligation to pursue it.  Likewise, allowing your child to develop a healthy relationship with your former spouse is also of benefit to your child.  Both issues are court-ordered, and your best route to a solution is to uphold your end of the agreement and work through legal channels to get the support to which you are entitled. We are prepared to assist.  Schedule a confidential consultation in our Boca Raton office today.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.13.html

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