In this week’s video I want to talk with you about the relationship between parenting time and child support.
A lot of people come to me especially the people who are entitled to receive child support and they want to know if they’re entitled to withhold parenting time from the other parents if they’re not getting child support. And my inclination is to tell them no that’s not really in the children’s best interests. Child support and parenting time are two separate issues. Just like a parent is obligated by a court order to pay child support if there’s a court order in effect that says a parent is entitled to a certain amount of parenting time then they are entitled to get it and the parent who may not be happy because they’re not getting child support needs to give it to them otherwise they face the same consequences that the parent who’s not paying child support faces.
There are ways to get a parent to pay child support if they’re not doing it other than withholding parenting time. The main way is to file an enforcement action and whatever jurisdiction you’re in and an enforcement action is an action where you tell the court this is the order that’s in effect and the person who’s obligated to follow that order is not following it this is what he or she is or is not doing and I want the court to enforce the order. So, that’s one tool that a person can use if they’re not getting child support or they’re not getting their parenting time for that matter.
The other tool that a parent can use which is more serious is filing a petition for order to show cause regarding contempt of court. In my mind contempt of court is more serious because when somebody is facing a contempt charge incarceration is one of the potential sanctions that they can get, and you know let’s face it nobody wants to be put in jail because they’re not following a court order. But if I really want to hammer somebody who hasn’t been paying child support for years for example or tens of thousands of dollars behind on their child support obligation, that’s what I might file is a petition for order to show cause regarding contempt.
I had a young father come to me over the last couple weeks and he was just he’s been devastated because his ex is using the children as a tool and she’s trying to extort a large amount of child support from him and she’s withholding the kids and she’s telling him you cannot see the kids unless and until you pay me this amount of money per month and the poor guy was kind of inclined to do it because he’s desperate to see his kids it’s been a long time since he’s seen his kids. And my advice is that you shouldn’t give in to threats like that by somebody there are ways to go through the court process and get the results that is in the best interest of the kids. If both parents are fit and it’s in the kids best interest and they should be seen both mom and dad. So whether you’re the mom or you’re the dad if you’re not getting your parenting time, or you’re not getting your child support, here’s the tools that are available to you.
Don’t threaten, don’t try to extort, because a judge is probably not going to like that if you do end up in court but most of all don’t do it it’s because it’s bad for your kids it hurts your kids. If they’re a two fit parents who love the children, who are involved, who are able-bodied then both of them should be involved in the children’s lives. And whether you’re getting your child support or not you should try to make that happen.