Many people misunderstand the relationship between child support and visitation. Some people believe that one is contingent upon the other. This misunderstanding of the law lands some people in contempt. I will clear this up for you in this article and hopefully keep you out of hot water.
Child Support and Visitation
Child support and visitation are two separate issues. One is not contingent upon the other. It’s pretty much that simple, but we can break it down even further.
- Failure to pay child support is not a justification to deny visitation.
- Failure to allow visitation is not a justification to withhold child support.
Violating a court order can get very expensive. Not only is there exposure to paying the other party’s attorney fees, but in some cases, it could involve jail and fines. So, don’t do it. Violating court orders is a horrible idea.
Motion to Enforce
So, what is the proper way to handle a visitation denial? There are a couple of options available. The quickest way to resolve the situation is a Motion to Enforce. 10 O.S. § 111.3. A hearing must be scheduled within twenty-one days. This allows a person to get to court relatively quickly and address the problem.
The court will conduct a hearing, and the other party will have an opportunity to explain why they withheld visitation. Unless the court believes there was a valid reason, the court should enforce the order. In addition, other relief may be awarded, including make-up visitation for the time lost, attorney fees, and other remedies outlined in the statutes.
The other option is a contempt citation. This is a good option, but the downside is contempt proceedings can drag on for months. The problem may get resolved in the end, but it will take a while, and while waiting for court dates, you are also waiting to get the visitation going again. If you are unsure which is the best option let me know and we can discuss in further detail.
There is Only One Justifiable Reason Not to Pay Child Support.
THERE IS ONLY ONE justifiable reason not to pay child support. Only one. That reason would be that you have gone back to court and have a new court order stating that you don’t have to pay child support. Failure to pay child support for any other reason will get you hammered by the court. So, don’t be that guy. Always consult with an attorney before making any legal decision or taking any legal action.
Copyright 2021. Pete D. Louden. All Rights Reserved