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Child support isn’t a quid pro quo for parenting time

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Child Support |

If your co-parent is repeatedly late with their child support payments, only pays a fraction of what they owe or hasn’t paid in months, that reality can result in serious financial ramifications for you and your child. You’ve brought it up numerous times, but they seem to have one excuse or another for not being able to keep up with their obligations.

You feel like they’re adding insult to injury by showing up to pick up your child for their parenting time. How can they expect to have access to your child when they’re violating their child support order? The fact is that parenting time, whether it’s shared custody or regular visitation, is not a quid pro quo for child support. A parent has a right to spend time with their child according to the terms of their agreement.

They may also have a court-ordered child support obligation to fulfill their responsibility of providing financial support for their child. However, that has no legal relationship to their parenting time. Even parents who aren’t allowed to see their child because of extreme circumstances like abuse may still have to pay child support.

You also can’t withhold child support if your co-parent isn’t letting you see your child

The reverse scenario can be just as frustrating, but the same principle applies. If your co-parent is making it difficult for you to get your parenting time with your child, you can’t withhold child support to “get back” at them. The child support is for your child’s financial needs – not payment for being able to see them.

Whether your co-parent is not fulfilling their child support obligations or always seems to have reasons why your child isn’t “available” when it’s your turn to have them, you can ask the court to step in and take action. If the issue is child support, Texas has a number of sanctions it can use if someone is able to pay but doesn’t. These can include placing liens on their property and assets, revoking suspending various types of licenses they have, etc.

If your co-parent isn’t living up to the terms of your child custody or support agreements, start keeping track of what they’ve done (for example, making only partial child support payments or canceling numerous visits). You should also seek legal guidance as soon as possible to better determine what your next steps should be.