When a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay child support as a part of a paternity or divorce action, they often don’t know what they don’t know. Too many noncustodial parents don’t understand the full ramifications of falling behind on their child support payments. They’ll mistakenly believe that if they don’t pay, the balance will simply accrue, but there’s much more to it than that.
When a parent falls behind on child support in Florida, the local child support agency can activate several enforcement tools to collect. This can mean bank levies, wage garnishment (usually this is already automatic for W2 workers), license suspensions, US passport denials, tax refund intercept, etc. What’s more, child support arrears cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. So, if you owe, you will owe indefinitely until you pay off the balance in full, even if it takes the rest of your life.
When Your Ex Won’t Let You See Your Children
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the custodial parent to bar their ex from seeing their children during their court-ordered parenting time. The custodial parent may schedule activities and events during the other parent’s time, or they may take the children out of town so the noncustodial parent can’t see their kids.
In these scenarios, the knee-jerk reaction for many paying parents is to say, “Oh really? I’ll show you, I’ll withhold child support since you won’t let me see my kids.” While this is a natural and understandable response, unfortunately, it backfires on noncustodial parents. You see, child support and child custody (also known as timesharing) are two separate matters. You cannot stop paying child support if your ex blocks you from seeing your children, but that does not mean that you’re helpless; you have legal recourse.
If your ex is keeping your children from you, the courts can consider it parental alienation and it may actually impact child custody. If it can be proven that your ex is intentionally breaking the court order and not letting you see your children, your ex may be held in contempt of court, fined, and in worst-case scenarios, jailed (this is rare and the last resort).
If you don’t pay child support because you can’t see your kids, a variety of negative things can happen to you, so we don’t recommend it. For legal assistance with your child custody matter, contact The Law Office of Schuttler, Greenberg, & Mullins to get started.