Unfortunately, when unhappy couples divorce, their problems can follow them after the marriage ends. If they had bad communication during the marriage or if they were in the habit of hurting each other while married, they can engage in the same behaviors after the divorce if they don’t wise up.
One of the most common problems that we see is a divorced couple will not get along and out of spite, the custodial parent will prevent the noncustodial parent from seeing their children during their court-ordered parenting time. As a knee-jerk reaction, the custodial parent may say, “I’ll show you, I’ll stop paying child support.” But is this smart? Or could it backfire on the paying parent?
Child Custody & Support Are Separate
Can you stop paying child support because your ex won’t let you see your kids? No! Child support and child custody are two separate matters. Even if your ex is refusing to let you see your children during your court-ordered parenting time, you cannot stop paying child support because if you do, it can lead to serious legal problems that will add stress to your life, which is the last thing you need.
When a noncustodial parent stops paying child support, not only does the child support continue to accrue, but once the balance reaches a certain threshold, the local child support agency will step in and will start enforcing the child support order.
Just some of the enforcement tools at the agency’s disposal include:
- Bank levies (including joint accounts with new spouses)
- Wage garnishment
- Tax refund intercept
- Lottery winning intercept
- Driver license suspensions
- Professional and occupational license suspensions
- Credit reporting
- Real estate liens
- Denials of U.S. passports
If your ex isn’t letting you see your children, do not stop paying child support because that will only lead to negative implications for you. Instead, continue paying child support and take your ex to court for disobeying the court order.
If the court determines that your ex is violating a court order, he or she can be held in contempt of court. In serious cases of parental alienation, the court can even decide to give the alienated parent custody because the courts frown heavily upon parental alienation, especially here in California.
For legal representation in a child custody or child support matter, contact Cutter & Lax today. We look forward to helping you.