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Unpaid support cannot be used to withhold visitation

| Apr 30, 2021 | Child Support |

Some Illinois parents might consider preventing their ex-spouse from seeing the children if they are not paying their child support in a timeline manner. Often, this is due to desperation as the funds are needed to meet the child’s needs. However, this is not a good idea, as it can get you in trouble.

Child custody and support

Courts treat child custody and child support as separate issues. Additionally, it is generally accepted that in most cases, a relationship with both parents is in the best interest of the child, regardless of whether the non-custodial parent is not meeting their financial obligations.

The rights of the child

Visitation is viewed as a child’s right. This means that whether the parent is paying child support or not, the child has the right to continue developing their relationship with the parent. Child support is viewed as both parents’ responsibility as both are involved in ensuring that the child’s needs are met. The only time visitation might be withheld by a custodial parent is over issues of safety. Even then, the parent must record their suspicions to ensure they can explain them later if necessary and they should contact the court that ordered the visitation with their concerns.

Options when a parent fails to pay child support

If a non-custodial parent stops paying or falls behind in child support, there are several options to consider. These include:

  • Considering why the parent stopped paying child support, for example, if it was due to job loss
  • Contacting the state’s Office of Child Support Enforcement, which can then take legal action to force the parent to pay support
  • Allow visitation to continue, as long as there are no worries over safety while awaiting legal recourse

Withholding visitation over unpaid support can end up working against you in court. Instead, use the legal channels to address the situation.