My ex-husband hasn’t paid child support for a few months now, yet he wants to see his 5 year old son. Can I keep my ex from visiting his son until he pays me child support? I don’t want to use my son as leverage, but I really need the money to keep him fed, clothed, and housed and this seems to be the only real motivator I have at my disposal.
Family Law Attorney
Absolutely not. Non-payment of support is not a justification for refusing to follow the court's parenting time order. You can go after him for the money, but you can't keep the child from him.
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Child Support Lawyer
In Illinois, Support and Parenting time are separate issues. One can't be used as leverage against the other.
Family Law Attorney
The court views visitation and child support as mutually exclusive issues. A parent isn't allowed to withhold visitation because child support hasn't been paid and a parent cannot withhold child support because they are not getting visitation. You can file a Contempt Petition against him for non-payment of support. If he is found in contempt the court should order him to pay your reasonable attorney's fees (unless you act as your own lawyer).
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Child support and visitation are two separate concepts and should be kept separate. If you have issues with child support arrearages, bring your ex back to court. His failure to pay could result in his being respnonsible for your fees as well as the back support. You are correct not to use the leverage of withholding visitation. Consult with an experienced family law practitioner. You will need one eventually.