A divorce is rarely easy, but it is usually more difficult and emotional when there are children involved. Part of a divorce that includes children is the creation of a Parenting Plan that outlines when the children are to spend time with each parent. If your ex is not adhering to the time-sharing plan, you may be tempted to cut off spousal and/or child support. Fort Worth father’s rights attorney Jon Boyd explains why withholding support when your ex will not let you see the kids is never a good idea.
There are really two parts to the end of a marriage. The first is the emotional part when the parties decide that the marriage cannot be salvaged. The second is the process of divorce which legally terminates the marriage. During the divorce process the assets and debts of the marriage must be divided. If there are minor children of the marriage, conservatorship and parenting time must be determined as well as child support. In some cases, alimony (also known as “spousal support”) is also awarded as part of the divorce. Ideally, all these issues are decided through negotiations outside of the courtroom. If an agreement is reached by the parties, the terms of that agreement are submitted to the court for approval and become part of the final decree. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial where any disputed issues will be decided. Either way, the terms of the final decree are considered orders of the court.
Unfortunately, disputes after a divorce is final are far from uncommon. Among the most common reasons for a divorced couple to return to court is a dispute over time with the children. If your ex is not adhering to the terms of the divorce regarding parenting time with children, you may be tempted to without child or spousal support. Fathers in your position often consider, or actually do, without support if the children’s mother is not allowing them to see the kids. From an emotional perspective it is easy to understand why you might want to retaliate; however, the law does not look at things from an emotional standpoint.
Once you have been ordered to pay child and/or spousal support as part of a divorce, refusing to do so is a violation of a court order. Moreover, he law is very clear on the relationship between visitation with minor children and the payment of support – there is no relationship. Visitation and support are separate legal issues. While your ex may very well be held in contempt of court for violating the terms of the parenting plan, you could also be held in contempt of court for failing to pay your court ordered child and/or spousal support. As frustrating and unfair as it may seem, withholding support because your ex will not let you see the children is never the right way to handle the situation.
If your ex is creating problems with your right to exercise parenting time with your children, or is outright refusing to let you see them, the best thing you can do is to consult with a divorce attorney right away. Do not let the situation continue in the hope that it will improve and do not threaten to withhold support. Not only will you look better to the judge if you continue to pay your support as ordered, but you will have the law on your side when the matter is litigated in court.
If your ex is not letting you see your children, contact an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights attorney at Boyd Family Law to schedule your appointment today.