Sharing your child with your ex can be really difficult, and often one parent will use a child to punish the other parent. This is inappropriate, and certainly not a good method of parenting. However, if you are thinking about withholding child support payments to force your ex to give you more time with your child, take a moment to rethink that plan.
You may feel that withholding child support is the only leverage you have, but you could land in legal hot water if you choose to do so.
The courts generally take a very negative view of parents who withhold child support, so this plan may actually backfire against you. Instead, consider consulting with an experienced attorney who can evaluate the specifics of your situation and help you come up with a plan that does not involve violating your child support order.
Don‘t confuse your rights with your child‘s rights
As a parent, you should have some rights to coparenting or visitation, unless you are in some set of circumstances where you do not get to see the child at all for some reason. Of course, in most cases, if you don’t get to see the child at all, then you will not have to provide child support.
For most frustrated parents in this situation, they have some visitation or custody rights, but the parent holding primary custody constantly frustrates them and makes their time with the child difficult, or maybe refuses to honor his or her part of the custody agreement.
Many parents make the seemingly logical conclusion that if they don’t get to have enough time with their child, then they’re not going to keep sending child support. Unfortunately, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the law.
Child support is not the right of a parent – it is the right of a child. If you have a child support obligation, it is to your child, not the child’s other parent. The only reason that your child support payments go to the other parent is because the court has deemed that they should handle the child support money on the child’s behalf.
You might feel that your child support is not going to support the child, but rather to fund your ex’s lifestyle. If that is the case, you should certainly consult with an experienced attorney to see what your options are to ensure that your child is receiving proper care.
But, whatever you choose to do, you should avoid withholding child support. If you do, the court may choose to garnish your income, or use any number of other tools it has at its disposal to compel parents to pay their assigned support.
You‘re not alone in the fight
As a parent, you deserve to have a fair share in your child’s life, especially if you have a child support obligation. When you feel trapped in the moment, it can seem as though there no options, but this is rarely true.
With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can explore your options for balancing out parenting time without putting yourself on the wrong side of the law. Proper legal guidance can ensure that your rights and child’s rights remain protected as you fight to be the best parent you can be.