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The connection between child support and visitation/parent time: there is none Posted on July 11, 2012, by

In Utah, as I imagine it is in most states, child support and visitation are not connected.  In other words, just because a parent doesn’t pay court-ordered child support doesn’t mean the non-paying parent doesn’t get visitation with the children.  In other words, not receiving child support that you are owed is not a legal basis for denying the non-paying parent their visitation.

The converse is true: just because one parent denies another parent visitation doesn’t mean that the other parent gets to withhold court-ordered child support. In other words, not being able to see your children for visitation doesn’t remove your obligation to continue paying child support.

However, just because a parent who doesn’t pay court-ordered child support gets to have visitation with their children, or just because a parent who wrongfully denies visitation still gets child support, doesn’t mean that there can’t/won’t be negative consequences. A parent who refuses to pay court-ordered child support or wrongfully denies visitation can be found in contempt and fined, do jail time, have a drivers license revoked, and/or be hit with other consequences.

One consequence is when the parents share the responsibility for the costs of transportation for visitation. The parent that should be receiving court-ordered child support but is not receiving it may not need to share in transportation costs until the parent who is supposed to be paying court-ordered child support gets current in their child support obligation. Another consequence in this scenario impacts the paying parent’s right to claim children for income tax purposes.

One consequence of denying visitation is that the court will usually order make-up visitation for the denied parent and can order the denying parent to pay the enforcing parent’s attorney fees for having to enforce the visitation. If the visitation-denying behavior continues, the court may change custody.

Please comment, add, refute, clarify or inquire regarding this posting if you are so inclined.  I would love for this to convert to a helpful dialogue and resource.

Written by

paul@paulwaldronpc.com

1 Response to "The connection between child support and visitation/parent time: there is none"

  1. Alan says:

    Great topic, we hear of many cases where paying parents are taking matters to their own hands. Unfortunately, the Courts are not dealing with contact matters as they should. I am aware of one country where child support payments are held in trust by the Child Support Agency when contact is prevented. There is not doubt that children are used to settle differences. You need to be tall to storm such events.

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