With today’s current economy and many lay-offs it is not unheard of for a father to be behind on his child support payments due to financial reasons. However, when a dad is behind on these payments — while for the custodial parent this can surely be frustrating — this should still never be used as a reason behind limiting visitation time between a father and his child.
When talking about child support and visitation it’s important to keep in mind these are two separate family law issues. And while it may be tempting to make a connection between paying child support and spending time with a child, the truth is that this type of thinking can negatively affect a child
For example, if a child is spending three days a week with their father, along with every other weekend, suddenly changing their schedule because dad is behind on child support is going to be confusing and not in their best interest.
Instead of being revengeful and putting a child in the middle, when a father is out of work or making less money and behind on payments — for those exes who are able to get along — one idea is to see if there is some kind of plan that can be worked out. Maybe the father is a mechanic and could offer to fix his ex-wife’s car? Or maybe offer to take care of the yard work?
However, if the child support is court-ordered, it’s important for the father to contact an attorney in order to see what options may be available in terms of petitioning the court for a modification to reduce the amount owed in child support. This is crucial as simply not paying could result in a criminal charge against the father.
Source: Pioneer Press, “Ex-Etiquette: Child support and visitation should be separate,” Jann Blackstone, Aug. 13, 2012
- Our firm handles cases involving fathers’ rights. To learn more about our practice, please visit our St. Louis child visitation page.