Can I withhold child support over denied visitation?
Your co-parent has had primary custody of the children since your divorce, and you’ve faithfully paid support. Your ex, however, hasn’t been so great about your visitation rights.
As a result, you’re thinking of withholding your child support until your co-parent complies with your right to parenting time. However, that decision can land you in serious trouble if the matter is brought to the attention of the court.
Failure to pay child support could lead to contempt of court charges.
Withholding visitation rights amount to a violation of a custody order, and so is withholding child support – but the court does not think of this as a “trade-off” situation where you can exchange one for the other.
Child support payments are meant to take care of the child’s financial needs. By withholding child support, you are basically denying your child what they need. And the court does not take this lightly.
You risk facing contempt of court charges if it is established that you have not been paying child support. And in Colorado, the consequences of this can be quite severe.
So what are your options if you are denied visitation?
The most sensible action to take if the custodial parent is denying you visitation is to seek enforcement action. Meaning, you need to petition the family court to punish the custodial parent for violating an existing child custody arrangement. Consequences of withholding visitation may include a fine or a custody amendment in favor of the other parent.
Every parent has a right to spend time and build a relationship with their child. If your visitation rights are being violated, it is important that you avoid costly mistakes that can hurt your case and worsen an already unpleasant situation.