I'm Behind on Child Support. Can My Ex Withhold Visitation?

No parent can withhold visitation – or custody, for that matter – from another parent who has child support debt. If you find it difficult to meet your current child support obligations, your ex can’t keep your kids away from you – but they can enforce the child support order by other legal means.

In either case, you need legal assistance. Withholding children from visitation or custody may be a breach of a court order, but so too is failure to pay child support for any reason. This means you may have both a legal claim and liability that you need to settle.

What Can I Do If My Ex Isn’t Letting Me See My Kids?

If your ex is withholding your children for any reason, you can file a motion for contempt. This is a serious matter that can result in a modification of the custody agreement, so you’ll want to hire a family lawyer for assistance.

Your attorney can not only help you argue your case but also make sure that the necessary paperwork is correctly filled out and filed on time.

How Can My Ex Enforce Child Support?

Just as you can file a motion asking the court to take action regarding your ex withholding your children, your ex can file their own motion asking the court to enforce child support payment.

This can result in a court order for the following actions:

  • Establishment of a required payment plan
  • Income earnings withholding
  • Wage garnishment
  • Liens against property (personal or real)
  • Levy and sale of personal property

The court may impose any of these or an alternative means of payment to satisfy child support debt. Failure to pay child support is also a crime, so if you have significant child support debt and appear to be willfully avoiding your obligation, a judge can sentence you to jail for up to a year.

Keep in mind that you can’t eject child support debt in bankruptcy, so the only way to get rid of it is to pay it back. It’s also worth mentioning here that child support debt still exists even if your child turns 18 or the obligation to pay support otherwise ends. Any support that was lawfully owed is still owed until you satisfy the debt.

What If I Can’t Afford My Child Support?

If you are having difficulty affording your child support payments, you can petition the court to modify the support order. Keep in mind that success in these matters is typically only possible when there is a substantial reason to modify child support. Such may be the case if you lost your job or have a reduced income at no fault of your own.

An attorney can help you with any legal challenges you face concerning visitation, child custody, and/or child support. If any issues involving these topics have arisen in your life, our attorneys at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. can respond with proactive counsel and creative legal solutions.

Learn more during a consultation. Contact us online now to request more information.