Experienced, Confident Family Law Representation

My ex won’t pay child support. Can I withhold visitation?

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2024 | Child-Related Matters

When the marriage is over and you and your former spouse go your separate ways, you make several arrangements. If you have children, you must determine how their day-to-day needs will be taken care of. You must also address the subject of parenting time.

But what if your ex is not living up to their child support obligation? Can you get back by withholding visitation?

No, you cannot withhold visitation

First things first, child support and visitation are not intertwined. Child support is exactly that – money paid by a parent towards the child’s daily needs (food, clothing, education and healthcare among others). This parental obligation is independent of any other aspect of the divorce settlement.

Visitation too is independent of the other aspects of divorce. Thus, as the custodial parent, you have to comply with its stipulations regardless of whether the other parent is paying child support or not. Withholding visitation on grounds of unpaid child support amounts to parenting time interference, and this has consequences.

So, what recourse do you have?

Of course, dealing with an ex who won’t pay child support can be frustrating. However, you must never let emotions get the better of you. California law lays out how child support orders are enforced. With the help of the local child support agency, the following remedies are available:

  • Their bank account can be frozen
  • Their tax or workers’ comp funds can be intercepted
  • Their driver’s license can be suspended
  • If they owe more than $2,500, they may not get a passport

Every child deserves the love and care of both parents regardless of the nature of their relationship. If your ex, however, is not paying child support, do not take matters into your own hands by withholding visitation. Instead, find out how proper legal counsel can help you enforce the child support order.