Will They Still Let me See my Kids if I Don’t Pay my Child Support?

A close up sepia toned picture of an adult's hand holding a child's hand.
The thought that you may not be able to see your kids if you miss a few child support payments is very scary for parents!

Few things cause more problems for divorcing couples than the issue of money. Whether it’s alimony or child support, and whether you’re the one forking over the cash or the one receiving it, there seems to be no end to the resentment and bitterness when money is fought over. Especially in many Oakland County cases, the people forced to pay are upset because they believe what they’re handing over is more than the other person needs (ie: they’re just too lazy to work for it!). 

And the person who gets paid is often upset about the fact that the money doesn’t begin to cover the needs and expenses involved in raising children and living life. And once people are mad at each other, the issue of revenge comes into play. Truth be told, our family court judges here in Oakland County don’t really have a lot of discretion to set child support amounts. Those amounts are mandatory and are set in the Michigan Child Support Formula. 

Angry exes are always looking for ways to punish the other parent.

There are many ways ex-spouses get back at each other after a contentious divorce. Especially when they’re still angry about money issues. The most common ones tend to involve trash-talking one another to anyone who’ll listen, and in more extreme cases, making false accusations. But the method people seem to fear the most is anything that involves their kids. 

From parental alienation to refusing to allow you to see your kids, most parents are very concerned about losing contact with their children (and who could blame them?) So what happens when you can’t pay your child support? Can your ex punish you by refusing to let you visit with your children?

Your ex doesn’t have the right to make those decisions!

Here are the facts: No one is allowed to keep you from seeing your kids if you have court-ordered visitation rights (now called “parenting time”), or a custody agreement that the court approved. That’s right – if the court has said that you have the right to spend time with your children, then no one except the court can take that away from you. If your ex hates you and doesn’t want you to see the kids, they don’t get to take your parenting time away. 

And if you don’t pay your child support, your ex still doesn’t have the right to interfere with your court-ordered visitation. No one except a judge can do that. And even a judge cannot take your parenting time just because you aren’t paying your child support. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay your child support! You definitely should pay your child support and obey all orders of the court. 

Child support, just like parenting time, is ordered by the court!

In the same way that your parenting time with your children is ordered by the court (which means no one else is allowed to interfere with that order!), your child support payments are also ordered by the court! That means, when you don’t pay your child support, you’re violating a court order. 

While that doesn’t give your ex the right to deny you time with your kids, it does mean that the court may come after you for the outstanding money. In fact, if you go long enough without paying, you could be ordered to serve jail time. Accrue enough owed child support and you could even end up being charged with a felony and going to prison! Serving prison time will definitely interfere with the visits with your children. 

Do you need help modifying your custody or visitation agreement?

Whether it’s your custody agreement, your visitation or parenting time, or even your child support amount that needs to change, we can help you. Our skilled and experienced family law attorneys have spent decades helping parents from Farmington, Royal Oak, Novi and Bloomfield Hills deal with their custody and parenting time problems. 

We do it all, from protecting your court ordered right to visitation, to requesting modifications to your custody order, and helping you modify your child support and alimony agreements. We’re available 24/7 at (248) 479-6200 and can help you with every aspect of your divorce or family law case.