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Can you withhold child support if you are denied visitation?

During divorces, child support and custody are often two of the most contentious areas for former spouses to agree on. All too often, divorcing parents let their emotions control their decisions, leading to poor decision making. If you are the non-custodial parent, arguments and disagreements during or after the divorce process could result in your former spouse withholding or reducing visitation.

An experienced divorce and family law attorney can help have visitation enforced by the courts. In the meantime, however, it is critical that you continue to pay your child support as ordered.

Withheld visitation can help your custody case

So long as you continue to comply with the court ordered child support, your former spouse’s actions in withholding your ordered visitation can help you during the final custody decision in your divorce. Their refusal to comply with court ordered visitation schedules will reflect poorly on their character and parenting. Your continued child support payments will show the courts the opposite about you. It can hurt to miss time with your children. Documenting what is happening can improve your chances of a favorable custody decision when your divorce is finalized.

It is not legal to withhold support payments

Regardless of the situation, withholding child support payments is illegal in North Carolina. Even if your former spouse is refusing to adhere to the ordered visitation schedule, it is critical that the non-custodial parent continues to pay support in a timely manner. Failing to do so could result in your wages being garnished, your tax return being seized, or even incarceration for failure to comply with the court order. Conversely, paying support even when your ex isn’t upholding one’s end of the agreement shows the courts that you are prioritizing your children’s welfare over everything else.

An attorney can help if you need the support amount adjusted

Often, the refusal to pay child support is because of a combination of interpersonal issues with the other parent and a perception that the amount ordered is unfairly high. The state of North Carolina uses a complex formula to determine the amount of child support. If your former spouse filed for divorce, the temporary child support order will reflect information he or she provided the courts. You may have documentation that can help your attorney request reduced child support payments.

An experienced family law attorney can advocate on your behalf for a reduction in support payments. This requires that he or she request a hearing and present financial and situational evidence to the courts. An experienced attorney knows this process and can calmly and persuasively advocate on your behalf to the courts. If you are being denied visitation, it’s time to speak with an experienced family law and divorce attorney.


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