Unfortunately, divorce does not always end the conflict between people who have children together. Even after the divorce, arguments can arise. Sometimes, former couples fight about the same issues, and other times new conflicts surface. When such disputes occur, it’s not uncommon for the custodial parent to not let their ex-husband or wife (the noncustodial parent) see their children.
When custodial parents withhold their children from the noncustodial parent, it’s typical for the noncustodial parent to lash back and try and hit the custodial parent where it hurts, in the wallet. Meaning, the custodial parent’s natural and instinctive reaction to not seeing their children is to say, “I’ll show you. If I can’t see my kids, I’ll stop paying child support.” But is this the best tactic?
Child Custody & Support Are Separate Issues
Child support and child custody are two separate issues; they are NOT related in the family court’s view. If your ex stops letting you see your children during your court-ordered parenting time, you cannot stop paying child support.
If you say to the court, “Well, she won’t let me see the kids so I don’t have to pay her,” the judge will not have sympathy for you, and he or she will not give you any breaks whatsoever. Even if you haven’t seen your kids in one year or five years, you’re still on the hook for child support.
The family court will not reduce the amount of child support you owe because your ex stopped letting you see your children. Instead, not paying child support can backfire on you. If you go too long, your driver's license can be suspended, your bank accounts can be levied, you can be denied a U.S. passport (if you owe $2,500 or more in child support), your tax refund can be taken, and much more. So, what do you do if you can’t see your children? Take your ex to court as soon as possible.
The New York courts take parental alienation very seriously. If you can prove that your ex is intentionally blocking you from seeing your children, the judge may determine that he or she is purposely alienating you from them. When a custodial parent has a pattern of parental alienation, it could impact child custody or they can be held in contempt of court.
So, the good news is that you do have legal recourse, just make sure you take action right away so your relationship with your children doesn’t suffer irreparable damage. Contact our firm today for assistance with the matter.