Child Visitation and Support: Do Payments Impact Visitation?

When a couple divorces and draws up a parenting plan, this parenting plan is enforced by the courts. Normally, this parenting plan will involve child custody, child visitation and child support payments. Even when two parents have legal custody of the child, normally one will have physical custody whereas the other may have to pay child support. Even in situations where there is equal and joint custody, one parent may still have to pay child support to the other.

What happens if a parent falls behind on child support? Does this affect his or her visitation schedule? Here is what you need to know about the differences between child support and child visitation.

Are Child Support and Visitation Separate?

It is easy to assume that your child support order and visitation order are connected. After all, they both impact your relationship with your child. The truth is, however, that they are two separate issues. Your custody visitation order does not impact your child support. If one parent misses visitation or surrenders a weekend to the other parent, this does not mean that the child support payment changes.

Is Retaliation Involving Child Support and Visitation Legal?

There are a few different scenarios where one parent may try to take retaliatory measures against the other. One example is that one parent misses a child support payment. When he or she misses the payment, the other parent decides to withhold visitation. The opposite may also happen. Say that one partner withholds visitation, can the other withhold a child support payment until he or she sees the children?

In both of these scenarios, the parent who does the withholding may be in legal trouble. You cannot withhold a child support payment if you do not see your child and likewise, you cannot withhold a child when there is no child support payment. There is legal recourse for each of these scenarios. It is important that you always work through the courts, rather than retaliating. Likewise, if your former spouse retaliates against you, you need to discuss it with the courts as soon as possible.While it may feel like everything in your parenting plan is connected, they are all separate issues. The support and visitation orders may affect your parenting, but you cannot allow one to affect the other. If one parent misses support payments, he or she can still visit with his or her child. To understand this more clearly or to resolve a problem with your parenting plan, set up a consultation with a child support lawyer from the experienced attorneys at PIOLETTI PIOLETTI & NICHOLS.