Custody/Child Support


#1

My is months behind on CS and Alimony. We have no formal agreement in place but can I refuse to let him see our son? Or do I have to go before a judge?


#2

My stbx… is how I should have started this question. Sorry.


#3

Child Support and Child Custody are two separate issues. If you don’t have an agreement in place, there is no technical obligation for support.

You can certainly make decisions regarding custodial time based on the best interest of the minor child, but be cautious about interrelating support issues with custody issues.


#4

What if both parents share custody with no legal agreement? Who makes the decisions?


#5

Yes, we do not have a legal order or agreement for child custody but he stays with me more than 50% of time and my ex quit paying any child support. Can I keep him from seeing my son without going to court?


#6

You can not keep a child away from the other parent for not paying child support. It does not make any difference if you have the child 95% of the time, they have the right to visit both parents.

The child support is a different matter. You should file for child support through DSS if you have no agreement between you. Gather records of his previous payments and run the calculator on the home site to see what should be getting paid.

If you share custody with no legal agreements, then the parents share decision making for the big decisions. Day to day decisions would be made while in that parents care. Should you let the child go to a friend’s home overnight? If it’s your night to have him/her. Should you get the child a cell phone? Best to discuss that with the other parent so that they are aware and guidelines for usage are set in place. Just keep in mind that you are still raising the child together regardless that you are separated.


#7

You actually can keep your child away from the other parent for not paying support, but the two issues are not related. You can keep your child away from the other parent for any reason. The real questions are: Is this a good thing for your child? and What are the consequences?

And yes, you should get an order for child support in place either through hiring an attorney or contacting Child Support Enforcement.

If you have no agreements or orders regarding custody, then either one of the parents can make decisions regarding the child.


#8

That goes against everything that every other attorney has posted on this forum for as long as I have been visiting this site. I’ve seen attorneys post that even if a parent does not pay child support they are still within their rights to see the child…though there would be consequences of not paying.
Without a court order or proof that the other parent is a danger to the child you can not legally keep the child from visiting that parent. You would need to go to court to show why you are withholding visitations. And if you have no court order or agreement regarding custody then there is no legal way to keep a child from visiting the other parent. With no court order or agreement, you essentially share custody. So if you decide to withhold visitations, you should be prepared that the other parent could do the same.

This is from the home site:
"Can a parent refuse to allow visitation if child support is not paid?

Although many clients think they can tie child support payments to visitation privileges, it is important that you understand that the one is legally independent of the other in terms of either unilaterally withholding support or suspending visitation. Thus, for example, if one party has not received the appropriate child support payment, he or she may not independently decide to bar the other from exercising any visitation rights. There is no supportable legal foundation for such a move. In addition, such retaliation can potentially impair your child’s welfare."


#9

Now I am so confused. We don’t have any court order yet for child support or custody. It sounds like each of us have equal rights with the child regardless of the money situation. Quite an difficult situation. I want to change our regular schedule because he has not paid me in two months. Sounds like I can do that but he can do whatever he wants too.


#10

[quote=“stepmother”]That goes against everything that every other attorney has posted on this forum for as long as I have been visiting this site. I’ve seen attorneys post that even if a parent does not pay child support they are still within their rights to see the child…though there would be consequences of not paying.
Without a court order or proof that the other parent is a danger to the child you can not legally keep the child from visiting that parent. You would need to go to court to show why you are withholding visitations. And if you have no court order or agreement regarding custody then there is no legal way to keep a child from visiting the other parent. With no court order or agreement, you essentially share custody. So if you decide to withhold visitations, you should be prepared that the other parent could do the same.

This is from the home site:
"Can a parent refuse to allow visitation if child support is not paid?

Although many clients think they can tie child support payments to visitation privileges, it is important that you understand that the one is legally independent of the other in terms of either unilaterally withholding support or suspending visitation. Thus, for example, if one party has not received the appropriate child support payment, he or she may not independently decide to bar the other from exercising any visitation rights. There is no supportable legal foundation for such a move. In addition, such retaliation can potentially impair your child’s welfare."[/quote]

I think the attorney meant that parents can do anything they want to but that doesn’t mean they should. I think reading that response would justify someone in keeping their kids away though and that is most certainly not best.


#11

Good parenting means facilitating a relationship with the other parent. Kids have a hard enough time with a divorce and separation. They should not be used as a pawn in whatever is going on with the adults. By changing his visitation who will you be punishing?

You said you have no formal agreement in place. Without an agreement you have nothing to enforce and at this point he does not legally owe you anything. If you need alimony and you need child support than you are going to need to take the legal steps necessary to get that in place.


#12

I think I wasn’t clear enough in my last post. Without a court order, yes any parent has a legal right to see their child. However, sometimes parents withhold their children from the other parent. Without an order or agreement in place, I as an attorney cannot “enforce” anything or “force” visitation. I have to go file a lawsuit to insure my client’s rights are protected.

My second point was that despite the fact I see parents withhold their children, I don’t think it’s in the children’s best interest for parents to put them in the middle in that manner.

Hopefully I was a little more clear in this post.


#13

I would like to add something in this topic.

For a parent to not allow another parent to NOT see their child over money is just dead wrong. It just shows that, that parent is in it for the money. Now if they are doing it because the child/children are being abused, abandoned, and emotional hurt, then I can understand. But for you to keep a child away from his/her other parent because of money is wrong. I think other’s need to soul search and figure out if they are keeping the custody of the child for good reasons and not money reasons.

This is JMO.


#14

I agree. Witholding visitation (without just cause…money not being one of them) is essentially using your children as ‘pawns’ in a control game. Sooner or later, the children figure out what’s going on.

Power plays involving children is not right and, IMO, not a sign of a loving, caring parent. The children are the innocent ones…