Can I Stop Paying Child Support if I Can’t See My Child?

A child's small hand is holding two fingers of their parent's hand in front of a grassy forest.

How to Deal With a Noncompliant Parent

Sharing your parenting time is a difficult task. The situation becomes far worse when the other party becomes noncompliant, especially when you’ve been diligent about respecting the custody calendar and promptly submitting your child support payments.

There are avenues to remedy a situation in which you are being denied your due custody or visitation time. None of them, however, include withholding child support payments.

Texas law requires parents to continue making child support payments regardless of the other parent’s violation of your custody agreement. The matters are two separate legal issues. Refusing to submit payments will not solve your custody concerns. It will only introduce a new matter to be addressed in court.

What Happens if I Stop Paying Child Support?

If you stop paying child support, you will be in contempt of the court order and the court may hold you in contempt. Your coparent can take legal action independently or through the Office of the Attorney General to collect their due payment. These arrears could then be obtained by:

  • Intercepting federal income tax refunds
  • Intercepting lottery winnings
  • Suspending your driver’s license, fishing license, or other professional license
  • Suspending your passport
  • Withholding paychecks

If you are held in contempt of court, you could face fines or prison time, sometimes even both. The penalties can be very harsh. Instead, let the courts handle your denied visitation.

What Qualifies as a Denial of Visitation?

Texas law is particular about what constitutes a denial of visitation. In order to be considered a denial of visitation, one parent must follow every element of the child custody order while the other does not.

So, for example, say your coparent texts you to tell you that they will not be at your designated exchange spot to drop off your child. If you passively accept it and make no effort to go to the chosen place at the assigned hour, it is not a denial. However, if you do go to the right place at the right time, and the child’s parent is not there to hand off the child at the time of exchange, it is a denial of visitation. That attempt needs to be documented so the documentation can be used in court to support your claims.

What to Do When Denied Custody or Visitation

Before you involve the court, there are steps you should take to build your case. You should:

  • Ensure you can enforce your order: Your visitation order must detail your agreement clearly and specifically in order to be enforceable. You must be able to clearly identify a section that is being violated.
  • Keep records: Document the dates and times when your coparent denied you visitation.
  • Leave a digital trail of proof: Whether you call the police to file a report, send a text every time you arrive at the designated swap spot, or keep your cell phone’s GPS on to show your location history, you should be collecting proof beyond your word to show that you followed your custody order.

As soon as it’s evident that their refusal to obey the order is more than an honest mistake, it’s important to seek counsel about if it is appropriate to take the matter to court.

Motion to Enforce Visitation

Our attorney can help you file a motion to enforce your court-ordered visitation schedule. In order to do so, we must:

  • Identify the specific part of the order that was violated
  • Detail how the order was violated
  • Outline the specific remedy or relief requested

We will help you back your claim with relevant evidence from witness testimonies, your digital footprint, and more.

While withholding child support is not a viable course of action, Camille Borg Law PLLC can help you legally assert your right to parenting time. Contact us online or at (469) 646-7763 for more information.

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