Parenting Time Cannot Be Stopped for Nonpayment of Child Support
It is understandable for parents to get frustrated and angry when a former partner falls behind on child support payments. However, a custodial parent may not withhold parenting time — the term the state of Ohio uses to refer to visitation — as a means of punishment or vengeance.
Courts view child support and parenting time as two separate issues. Parents do not have to “earn” the right to spend time with their children by paying child support. They have those rights independently of each other.
If you are considering withholding parenting time, remember that your child also has a right to visit with the other parent. You are not just harming the other parent by withholding parenting time — you are also harming your child, who has a right to enjoy relationships and time with each parent. It is not the child’s fault that his or her parent does not pay child support on time.
Enforcing a child support order
In Ohio, there are some steps you can take to enforce your child support orders if the other parent falls behind on payments. Below is a quick overview of the options available:
- Income withholding: This is typically the most effective method for collecting ordered child support. Income withholding is a mandatory order and applies to all income — even income beyond wages. Typically, this happens when the Court or the Child Support Enforcement Agency initially establishes child support.
- Tax offsets: In a tax offset, support money is collected from federal and/or state tax refunds. This tax intercept happens when the Child Support Enforcement Agency notifies the government that an arrearage exists.
- Measures not needing court action: There are some punitive measures that do not require court action to encourage payment of child support. These include credit reporting, suspension of professional licenses, CSEA orders to seek employment and increases in income withholding. The Child Support Enforcement Agency may also suspend a parent’s driver’s license for nonpayment of child support.
- Contempt penalties: A person who fails to comply with enforcement actions may be held in contempt of court, which can lead to fines or jail time. Reasons a person can be held in contempt include disobeying a court order, failure to appear in court, failure to submit to genetic testing, failure to obey subpoenas and failure to comply with child support orders.
For more information on enforcing child support orders in Ohio, speak with an experienced family law attorney at Fox & Associates Co., L.P.A.