Can my ex deny visitation if I am behind on child support?

lonely young woman tearing photo of ex-boyfriend

The dynamic between divorced or separated parents can be quite volatile, and this can lead to disputes over child custody and visitation. One such dispute that we often hear about is a parent trying to stop another parent from seeing the child.

A common reason why parents think they can deny visitation is if a parent falls behind on child support. They think that if a parent isn’t keeping up with payments, then he or she shouldn’t be able to spend time with a child. However, this is not accurate; child support and child custody are two different matters and parents should still comply with custody and visitation orders, even if there are problems with child support.

What can I do if my ex is keeping my kids from me?

If your ex is keeping your child from you for any reason, (including matters related to unpaid child support) then you can take legal action to enforce your custody order. To support this action, you should keep careful records of when your ex denied visitation and be sure you are present at the agreed-upon time and place for exchanges. If appropriate, the courts may modify the visitation agreement.

One crucial thing to remember is that you should continue to pay child support, even if your ex is not letting you see the children. Stopping payments can only make matters worse.

How can I enforce a support order?

If you are the parent who should be receiving child support but isn’t, then you can take legal action to enforce your support order. The Child Support Division in Texas can enforce a child support order by:

  • Suspending a delinquent parent’s licenses
  • Directing an employer to withhold wages from the parent’s paycheck
  • Pursuing contempt of court lawsuit, which could result in jail time

Remember that child custody and child support are two different matters; you should not violate a custody order, even if the other parent violates the child support order.

Seeking legal guidance

Disputes related to violations of court orders can be very complicated and frustrating. But rather than take matters into your own hands to attempt to resolve them, it can be wiser to discuss the legal remedies available with an attorney.