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Should You Let Late Child Support Payments Affect Visitation Rights?

If you have custody of your kids, but your ex gets visitation, it may be tempting to withhold these rights if child support is late. After all, it may seem unfair that your ex gets the privilege of spending time with the kids without helping you out financially. But you are encouraged to keep visitation and finances separate from each other. There are a few reasons for this.

Be Understanding of Money Issues

When you are low on money and cannot buy any extras for your children, this does not affect your ability to be a good parent. The same can be said for your ex. In most cases, child support is late because of financial issues, especially if the parent still regularly sees the children. If your ex were simply trying to inconvenience you and the kids by purposely being late with the child support, he or she probably would not even bother visiting the children or trying to stay on good terms with you.

Therefore, if you have a feeling your ex is still trying to be a good parent, despite struggling with money, you should give her or him a break. Consider working out an agreement with your ex, such as bartering for help with the house when he or she cannot pay the full amount of child support. Of course, if you suspect your ex is just playing games and trying to get out of paying, you should talk to your lawyer to find out how to get the money you are owed. But withholding the children from him or her could just get you into trouble with the law if there is a court order, and it will not necessarily get you the money any faster.

Keep Your Kids’ Best Interests in Mind

In addition, if your ex wants to see the children and you say no just because you do not have the child support yet, your children could end up suffering from this decision. If they look forward to seeing their other parent regularly, you will be the one disappointing them, especially if they find out you made the decision. The money issue is not their fault, but they will suffer the ill effects of it, whether they know about the late child support payments or not.

Of course, if you end up telling them that their parent is late with the money, they will feel they have been put in the middle and stressed out when it is not their burden to take on. Clearly, there is no way for you to win here when you let the late child support affect your kids’ relationship with their other parent. This is why you should try to keep the two issues separate as much as possible. Instead of punishing both the kids and your ex for the money problems, try to be understanding while also contacting your lawyer to find out what you can do about it.


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Fault grounds for divorce include adultery, constructive abandonment for at least one (1) year, cruel and inhuman treatment, and imprisonment of a spouse for three (3) or more years. Prior to October 2010, other than a legal separation agreement that was filed with the court, divorces were based on fault.
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