It is natural to believe that child support and the visitation with the children are intimately connected. Often the support and a parent’s visitation with the children will be decided during the same dispute, but not necessarily at the same time. I often hear clients ask can I withhold children from the other parent because I have not received my child support? From a legal standpoint, support and visitation are two entirely different legal issues.
Child support and visitation are Not Tied Together
Texas Family Code Section 105.006 requests every Parenting Order to include the following language in capitalized bold type:
FAILURE OF A PARTY TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT DOES NOT JUSTIFY DENYING THAT PARTY COURT-ORDERED POSSESSION OF OR ACCESS TO A CHILD. REFUSAL BY A PARTY TO ALLOW POSSESSION OF OR ACCESS TO A CHILD DOES NOT JUSTIFY FAILURE TO PAY COURT-ORDERED CHILD SUPPORT TO THAT PARTY.
Judges are not even permitted to order support but disallow any physical access to the child when they deem it to be in the “best interest of the child”. This usually happens in severe cases such as abuse or some sort of child endangerment.
Again Child Support and Visitation are Not Related
It's not uncommon for a parent to believe that the amount of child support should somehow be adjusted depending on how much time the child spends with the non-custodial parent. For example, if I have the children 50% of the time I should not have to pay child support.
The Court will always care more about the best interest of then children than what either party thinks is "fair." If the case goes to Court it is entirely up to the trial court judge to decide who, if anyone, will pay child support, and what that amount will be.
Visitation cannot be denied if support isn't paid
Given the current law Judges’ take a dim view of parents who appear to be using their child's support payments as leverage to extract more parenting time or if a parent is withholding the children because a payment has not been made.
Modifications and Enforcements
Another situation that causes problems is when a parent is consistently late and interferes with your time with your child. In such a situation you may want to retaliate and not pay the court-ordered child support. Doing so could land you in hot water with the court.
A better approach to these situations is either:
- Work out a compromise with the other parent. If the other parent is unwilling to work with you, you can file an action to modify and ask for more visitation with the court.
- Create a record of the parent's tardiness and try to determine why there is a problem. You may find a more convenient schedule for both of you that results in more time with the child. If the problem continues take the parent back to court and ask for a modification.
- If child support is being withheld you can file a petition for enforcement and take the nonpaying parent to court
An attorney can help you through the process of all of these scenarios
If you are engaged in child custody litigation, then it is important for you to call a family law attorney at your earliest convenience. As you can see, the court's overriding concern is with what is in the best interests of the child. Withholding child support, from the court's perspective, only hurts the child and will often backfire if you are seeking enhanced visitation. A lawyer can put you on the right path toward modifying your parenting plan.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
- Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
- How to get above guideline child support.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our SpringDivorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, and surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.