child custody visitation

If Your Spouse Interferes with Visitation, Can You Withhold Support?

Divorce between parents can be a difficult and stressful process, especially when kids are involved. Maintaining fair and consistent visitation arrangements and support payments is one of the difficulties separated parents have. However, there are some circumstances where a non-custodial parent may discover that their ex-spouse is interfering with their visiting rights, which can cause a spouse to stop making support payments. In this blog, we’ll discuss interference with visiting rights and whether it is acceptable to withhold support payments. We will also give parents who may be in this situation a thorough set of guidelines, including how to effectively communicate with a former spouse, document interference, seek legal advice or mediation, be adaptable, when possible, put the needs of the kids first, and take care of oneself.

Know Your Visitation Rights and Support Obligations

When a married couple has children, the court normally grants one parent custody while granting the other parent visitation privileges. Depending on the particulars of the divorce, visitation schedules might vary, but they typically contain a predetermined timetable for the non-custodial parent to spend time with their children.

The non-custodial parent often has to pay support to the custodial parent in addition to visiting rights. These payments are meant to cover the costs of housing, food, clothing, and other expenses related to raising the kids.

Interference with Visitation Rights: What Is It?

When a custodial parent intentionally or inadvertently inhibits the non-custodial parent from practicing their court-ordered visitation rights, this is referred to as interference with visitation rights. Various forms of this include:

·        Preventing the non-custodial parent from seeing the kids at the designated times.

·        Obstructing the non-custodial parent’s ability to communicate with the kids.

·        Attempting to reduce the non-custodial parent’s participation in the children’s lives, such as by excluding critical decisions or events from their knowledge.

How Interference with Visitation Rights Affects Children

The non-custodial parent may experience extreme frustration and stress as a result of interference with their visiting rights, which may harm their connection with their children. The kids could feel like they’re in the thick of the fight and feel bad or worried about it.

Can You Refuse to Support?

While it may be tempting to refuse to pay child support when visitation rights are being violated, doing so is neither morally nor legally acceptable. Failure to make support payments as directed by the court may have serious repercussions, such as:

·        Action in court: The custodial parent may file a lawsuit to enforce the court order if the non-custodial parent doesn’t pay child support.

·        Garnishment of wages: Wages of the non-custodial parent may be garnished if they don’t make support payments on time in the future.

·        Negative effect on credit score: A person’s credit score may suffer if they fail to make support payments.

·        Prison time: In certain situations, a non-custodial parent who consistently misses support payments may be sentenced to prison.

Rules for Handling Obstruction of Visitation Rights

Get In Touch with Your Ex-Spouse

Contacting your ex-spouse is the first step in resolving any interference with visitation rights. Explain to your children how the interference is impacting your connection with them and try to tackle the situation gently and sensibly.

Keep Track of The Interference

Keep a log of any instances where your visitation rights have been violated, noting the dates, times, and details of the offenses. If legal action is required, this documentation may be useful.

Seek Legal Counsel

It may be necessary to seek legal counsel if the interference persists. You can work with an attorney to enforce the court order and they can also help you understand your rights and options.

Consider Mediation

Parental conflict resolution through mediation may be a good alternative in various circumstances. A mediator can assist both parties in improving their communication and achieving a result that is in the children’s best interests. Going to mediation rather than court may save money and time while also easing tension between the parents.

Be Accommodating When You Can

Enforcing court-ordered visitation schedules is crucial, but it’s also crucial to be flexible when you can. Unexpected circumstances can occasionally make it challenging for one or both parents to stick to the routine because life can be unpredictable. If at all feasible, attempt to collaborate with your ex-spouse to come up with a decision that benefits the kids and is fair to both of you.

Prioritize The Needs of The Kids

The needs of the children must come first in any situation involving interference with visitation rights. This entails putting aside personal grudges and putting the needs of the kids first. It also entails making an effort to keep up a good relationship with your kids, despite the challenges.

Self-Care Is Important

It can be emotionally demanding to deal with visiting rights interference. It is crucial to look after yourself and, if necessary, seek support from friends, family, or a professional. This can assist you in managing your stress and maintaining your attention on what matters.

For non-custodial parents, interference with visitation rights can be difficult and irritating. While it may be tempting to withhold support payments in retaliation, doing so is not morally nor legally permissible. Instead, parents should concentrate on efficiently communicating with their ex-spouse, getting legal help if required, and placing the welfare of the kids first. Even the most difficult circumstances can be overcome if one is tenacious, patient, and committed to the long-term welfare of the family.

Natalie is a writer and researcher who has been supporting the legal industry with her work for years. As the Lead Copyeditor at ONE400, the nation's premier law innovation agency, she's responsible for creating original content and editing articles submitted to the website. She has over five years of professional experience writing and editing across a variety of print and digital platforms. Her work has been featured across a number of legal industry publications and sites.
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