Are Custody and Child Support Linked?

In Child Custody, Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

Parents Improperly Fight Using Support and Custody

Unfortunately, the two issues are often intertwined in the minds of parents, since they both involve the children and generally come about during the same period of time. As a result, we often see parents attempt to punish one another by using custody and visitation or child support as leverage. In other words, when a parent is late paying support or stops paying support, then the parent deprived of support sometimes decides to withhold custodial time in retaliation. Or, when one parent deprives the other of visitation, then the wronged parent stops paying child support in response. When parents engage in this conduct, not only is it contrary to the child’s best interest, but it is also often unlawful.

The fact is child support and visitation are entirely separate legal issues in the eyes of the law. They are governed by their own statutes. Each comes with its own consequences for non-compliance, which do not include depriving a parent of support payments or custodial time as a consequence of the other. The proper response when a parent fails to abide by custody orders or child support orders is to seek enforcement from the court. This means asking an attorney to bring the matter before the court, so the court can compel the other parent to follow the court’s order or existing agreement. There are numerous tools at the court’s disposal to accomplish this.

To take matters into your own hands—to withhold support or visitation in retaliation for the other—is a big mistake. One that will likely backfire, because punishing a person for failing to pay support by denying custodial time means that you are violating the court’s custody order.

New Direction Family Law

North Carolina’s laws regarding visitation and child support are completely separate. If your spouse is withholding child support or is depriving you of ordered custodial time, you need help. Contact New Direction Family Law. Our attorneys are professional and experienced and will treat you with the respect that you deserve. We serve Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation or reach us online.