Can I Withhold Visitation If My Ex Is Behind In Child Support?
Navigating a relationship as parents after a divorce or split can be difficult, and it can be particularly frustrating if the noncustodial parent falls behind or refuses to pay their court ordered child support. One common question we get asked at Fort, Holloway & Rogers is whether a custodial parent can refuse to let the other parent spend time with their child if they are in arrears? Our experienced Franklin family attorneys can help you manage this and any other issues that may arise in your family situation. To learn more, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
Can I Withhold Visitation?
Simply put, you cannot withhold visitation with your child if the other parent falls behind in support payments. Child custody and child support are considered two completely separate issues under Tennessee law. A parent is not allowed to wield visitation time as a weapon to compel the other parent to get up to date in their support payments. Tennessee law prioritizes the parent-child relationship, and the payment of support has nothing to do with a custody and visitation determination. If a parent is found withholding visitation from another parent that has court ordered time with their child the parent withholding support can get in serious trouble. Depending on the seriousness of the case, it could result in a modification of child custody that gives a greater share of physical custody to the parent that has been aggrieved.
What are My Options?
If the noncustodial parent falls behind in child support payments, there are other legal options that a custodial parent can utilize to compel payments besides withholding visitation time. One option is to hold the noncustodial parent in contempt of court. This option works best when the noncustodial parent has the capacity to make payments but is willfully refusing to do so. That parent can be issued daily fines and even jail time until they pay what is owed.
Another option is to seek an income withholding order, or a wage garnishment, from the court. This court order compels the employer of the noncustodial parent to withhold up to ten percent of each paycheck and send it directly to the custodial parent for child support. The court can also place liens on the real estate or personal property of the noncustodial parent until they are no longer in arrears or compel a sheriff’s sale of property to cover the child support owed to the custodial parent. To learn more about your legal options, talk to our office today.
Call or Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers
Are you currently struggling with a parent who is not making their child support payments and want to know what you can do? If so, the experienced and skilled family law attorneys at Fort, Holloway & Rogers are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation of your case now.