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Visitation rights and unpaid child support

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2022 | Child Custody

For many custodial parents in New Jersey, child support payments are necessary. When the non-custodial parent does not pay, the custodial parent and the child might experience financial stress. The custodial parent’s reaction might be to withhold the other parent’s visitation. However, doing this can create more problems.

The right to visitation

The relationship between a child and a parent is treated separately from the issue of child support. Even if a non-custodial parent falls behind or stops paying child support, the child and the parent still have the right to continue seeing each other and developing their relationship.

What can you do if the other parent stops payments?

If your child’s other parent stops paying support, you should speak with your Office of Child Support Enforcement to report the issues. The office can investigate and deal with the case. Some of the consequences they can enforce include:

  • Preventing the parent from getting a passport
  • Garnishing the parent’s paycheck
  • Seizing the parent’s unemployment compensation
  • Arresting the parent so they can serve jail time

The court’s preference

In most custody cases, the court’s preference is to have the child continue their relationship with both parents. It also usually expects parents to support their child’s relationship with the other parent. The exception is when a child’s safety is threatened when they are with one of their parents. If there are allegations of child abuse or neglect or a parent’s abuse of alcohol or substances, the court will investigate and make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

It is important to always follow the custody order issued by the court. If you have concerns about it, you should address them through the proper channels to avoid your actions reflecting negatively on you.