Ex isn’t paying child support, can I deny parenting time?
It can be incredibly frustrating and difficult when an ex isn’t paying child support. Watching your child’s basic needs go unmet and struggling day-in and day-out to get by takes it’s toll on a parent. Desperate, the parent denies parenting time in a “last resort” attempt to get the other parent to pay child support. Unfortunately, the child suffers in either situation. Instead, read how Minnesota laws about child support can help.
Can I deny parenting time when Ex isn’t paying child support?
In Minnesota, a parent cannot legally deny parenting time because the other parent is not paying child support. In other words, it’s illegal to deny parenting time, even if the other parent isn’t paying child support. It’s illegal because if there is an order for parenting time, it’s assumed that it’s in the child’s best interests to have stable and consistent access to both parents. Thus, if you were to deny the other parent, due to a lack of child support, you would be violating the parenting time order.
Parenting Time and Child Support
Parenting time gives children the opportunity to bond with their parents and to benefit from their love and guidance. Parenting time is not considered exchangeable for child support.
It may be helpful to think of child support and parenting time as two separate court orders. Both orders need to be followed and each order has separate ramifications when they are not followed.
Minnesota Parenting Time and Remedies
Parenting time refers to the designated time that each parent is scheduled to be with his/her children. Therefore, the children should be with one parent during his/her parenting time, and with the other parent during his/her parenting time.
If one parent is denying the other parent of his/her parenting time with the children, the parent who isn’t being allowed to spend time with his/her children can motion the court for parenting time assistance. To remedy the loss in parenting time, the court can order and award additional parenting time for the other parent to compensate for the parenting time that s/he missed out on with the children.
On the other hand, if a parent is not spending time with his/her children during his/her parenting time, the other parent can motion the court because the other parent is not fulfilling his/her parenting time. In this case, legal remedies can include changing the parenting schedule (which can also affect child support calculations), contempt, attorney’s fees, asking for restriction or supervision of parenting time (when appropriate), or in some cases a custody switch.
Minnesota Child Support Remedies
Child support refers to the financial obligation one parent must pay to the other parent for the support of the child’s basic needs, medical needs, and child care costs.
If a parent isn’t paying child support, there are several remedies for non-payment. These can include compulsory wage garnishment, tax interception, civil contempt, revocation of a driver’s license, revocation of a hunting license, and others.
In addition, if a parent already has a child support order in place, s/he can contact the county child support office about enforcement services and get additional help with collecting child support. The county not only has a wide variety of resources available to help enforce child support awards, but provides such services at a low cost to the parent.
Denying Parenting Time is a Contempt of Court
Thus, there are specific legal ramifications if you don’t follow a parenting time order or if you’re not paying child support as ordered. In Minnesota, if you deny a parent access during his/her court-ordered parenting time (regardless of if your ex isn’t paying child support), you can be found in contempt of court. This leaves you vulnerable to giving compensatory time to the other parent, paying his/her attorney’s fees, and in the most extreme cases – serving jail time. In addition, consistent and willful denial of parenting time can also be grounds for a change in custody.
Therefore, don’t violate your parenting time order by denying access of the children, in order to try to get the other parent to follow the child support order. Instead, do what’s in your best interests and your child’s best interests and explore the other potential remedies listed above that are available to you.