You’ve heard it a million times – in conversations over the water cooler with the guys at work, or a night out with girlfriends as a newly single parent – “Joey’s Mom/Dad hasn’t paid child support in over 3 months! I told him/her that until I see some of that, he/she can forget about seeing Joey too!”
Child support and custody are two separate entities within the realm of divorce. However, a lot of times, a custodial parent feels that he or she is justified in withholding visitation from a non-custodial parent that has not made child support payments. As logical as it may seem, this is not the way to deal with delinquent child support payments.
Withholding visitation in such a way does more harm than good in that it not only punishes the non-custodial parent, but it also punishes the children, and the children are then paying for the mistakes made by the parents in two ways – first by having to live through the divorce itself, and second not being allowed to see a parent with whom they have a right to have a relationship and love.
Every state has some sort of system in place to collect child support from a so-called “dead beat” parent, and these systems should be made use of instead of a custodial parent’s foggy idea of justice. Even though visitation may be court ordered, it is still a right, not only of the non-custodial parent, but of the children involved.