Withholding Child Support

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

Are Visitation and Child Support Related?

No, you may not withhold child support on your own. What you can do is ask the court to let you withhold child support because of repeated denied visitation.

Are Visitation and Child Support Related?

They are legally speaking different issues. A court usually makes an order for both at the same time but that doesn't mean they have a bearing together. They cannot be "traded" for one another. If you are being denied visitation you still have to pay child support, and if you are not receiving child support you can't deny visitation. They are however practically speaking related. Non-custodial parents who receive their visitation pay 85% of the child support they are obliged to pay and non-custodial parents who don't see their children very often or not at all pay only about 35% of their child support.

Can I Withhold Child Support If I Have New Children?

Parents often have children beyond the children they are already supporting. If the parent has a new child or adopts a new child, the parent cannot unilaterally decide to reduce or end support to their previous children.

If the parent earnestly believes that supporting one child at the same level would be a burden on other children, the parent should go to court to modify the support agreement.

Can I Withhold Support When My Child Becomes an Adult?

This depends on the state you live in and the child support order. Many states terminate child support when the child becomes an adult, although states differ as to whether a child becomes an adult at age 18 or age 21.

Other states end support when a child is no longer dependent on his or her parents. In those states, dependency may severe when the child enlists in the military, becomes married, graduates from college, or is emancipated.

Although state statutes often determine when child support ends, court orders and child support agreements control individual cases. If a support agreement states that child support ends when the child graduates from college, then support will end at graduation, even if state law ends support when a child turns 18.

What Court Has Jurisdiction over My Problems?

Jurisdiction usually remains with the original court where you got your custody and visitation arranged.

Can I Go to Jail If I Withhold Child Support?

A parent who withholds child support risks going to jail. A court would probably schedule a hearing to discover the reason for the missed payments. If the court orders the parent to make the payments, the parent would be in contempt of court if the parent continues to withhold support.

If a parent is found in contempt of court, then the court could put the parent in jail for violating a court order.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Visitation Issue?

If you are seeking to enforce your visitation rights with your children, it may be wise to consult with a family lawyer to discuss how to go further. Working with an experienced family lawyer can help you understand your rights and help you deal with the complicated legal system.

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Last Modified: 04-10-2015 10:50 AM PDT

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