Spouse is incredibly behind on child support payments and contempt is next step. How does this reflect on visitation?

Asked over 1 year ago - Everett, WA

I understand they are two separate entity's but how can a parent who is violating a court order for months and months be allowed to have visitation when the children he visits he provides nothing for. I don't think he shouldn't see his kids but its sending a conflicted message.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Dave Hawkins

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    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Apples and oranges. The legislature has deemed that maintaining contact between parent and child has nothing to do with financial matters .

    The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for... more
  2. Karen Christina Skantze

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    Contributor Level 9

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    Answered . As frustrating is might be, which it understandable is for many custodial parents, it is the law. In the visitation context, it is about the best interests of the child. The legislature and by extension the courts believe that the involvement of both parents in the child’s life is in that child’s best interest, all things being considered equal. In contrast, past due child support belongs to the parent, not the child. Because the focus of the two issues is on different persons (child in one context and custodial parent in the other), it stands to reason that asserting the right of the parent to collect past-due child support from the other parent who is behind on making payment is not grounds to restrict visitation that is viewed as promoting the best interests of the child. Accordingly, visitation is separate from whether a parent is current with child support or not. However, you do have the potential option of filing a motion for contempt of the child support order, which among a list of remedies could include jail time for the past-due parent and which may motivate payments of past and present support, or to have DCS enforce collection of child support and past-due amounts.

    Karen C. Skantze practices in the State of Washington. The response is limited to her understanding of law in the... more

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