My Ex is Not Paying Child Support, Can I Refuse Visitation?

Video Script Below

Your ex isn't paying child support. Can you refuse to let him see the children? I'm Steve Kramer. I'm a Florida family law attorney and maybe you're the ex that isn't paying child support or maybe you're the mother or father that isn't receiving child support and I've seen this from both sides. But the short answer is child support doesn't equal visitation. And if you're not paying child support, you're not receiving child support you can't use child support as a negotiating tool or a leverage tool with seeing the children. Parents have to see their children and it doesn't matter whether you're paying child support or not. It's not the way you address it. We don't use children as poker chips. We don't use them as bargaining tools. And if that's the way you want to do things I'm probably not the right attorney for you because I want to make sure the kids are taking care of. I want to make sure the children are protected, they're usually the victims that are invisible in divorces. They're the ones that feel the pain and I want to make sure we can protect the children as much as possible. Now the right way to deal with it, if you haven't paid child support, is to file a motion for contempt. And what is a motion for contempt? That's basically going in and telling the court that this person violated the court's order. They didn't obey the court and asking the court to punish that person. Punish them for not paying child support. And that punishment can be stiff. The court can suspend the driver's license. The court can do some very nasty things. And one of those things is the court can lock up that person in jail. They can lock up that father or mother who's not paying child support in jail until they pay and that be a very unpleasant experience. And I've seen it happen and I've locked people up. So keep that in mind. Now, if you deny the other parent access to the children - you don't let them visit with the child - then you, yourself can wind up facing a motion for contempt. Because now you're violating the court's order and you're kind of undermining your position, aren't you? You're coming into the deal with dirty hands, unclean hands and that's not the way you want to get paid your support. Because the court is not going to be as sympathetic to you. The better strategy is to do what you're supposed to do and then to get in there, file a motion for contempt, ask the court to lock up the other party, ask the court for attorney's fees, ask the court to suspend their driver's license, ask the court to revoke their professional licenses or whatever licenses they have with the state of Florida (other than the driver's license). And that's how you're going to get a good result in a family case. And if you want to talk about it, pick up the phone. I'd be glad to go over your family case. I've seen this stuff happen before. I've seen it go every which way. Give me a call. I'm Steve Kramer, thanks for watching.

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