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Are visitation and child support tied together?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2023 | Child Support And Spousal Maintenance |

The worst thing about your divorce is the fact that you no longer have your child living with you full-time. It wouldn’t be so bad, except that your ex-spouse is frustrating every attempt you make to spend time with the kids. Every time your visitation day rolls around, one of the kids is “sick,” or something else seems to come up.

You’re about at the end of your rope. All you want is fair access to your children, so you’re thinking of withholding support until your ex-spouse relents.

You don’t “buy” visitation with your support

Every Missouri parent has a legal obligation to support their child until that child turns at least 18 years of age (21 if they’re still a full-time student) – whether they have any kind of visitation rights, or not.

This support is designed to cover their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing, although you may also be responsible for daycare services, extracurricular fees, school costs and medical bills, as well. Exactly how much you have to pay is decided by the court, and that figure doesn’t change until the court says it changes.

In other words, your support doesn’t give you any entitlement to have visitation with the kids, nor does the fact that visitation is being withheld (illegally or not) entitle you to reduce or stop the support you’re paying. Any “self-help” attempt to remedy the situation you’re in could backfire.

The court could punish you for nonpayment of support by seizing your tax returns, fining you, placing liens against your property, suspending your driver’s license and any professional licenses you have and even holding you in contempt of court – and that can mean jail time.

When your co-parent is preventing you from seeing your children according to your schedule, you can take legal steps to enforce your rights and protect the parent-child relationship that’s so precious to you. Experienced legal guidance can show you how.

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