If child support is not paid, must visitation be allowed?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Yes. The issues of child visitation and child support are separate issues.

Failure to pay child support is typically insufficient grounds to stop the right of the non-custodial parent to visitation with his/her child. Visitation is typically ordered by a court in the best interest of the child to promote love and affection with both parents – custodial and non-custodial alike. Child visitation is vital to the non-custodial parent so that a meaningful relationship between child and parent can be maintained or established. On the other hand, child support is based upon the financial needs of the child and the ability of both parents to provide for the child’s financial needs. Thus it is typically treated as a separate issue, the failure of one not having a determinative effect upon the other.

The custodial parent must continue to allow visitation with the child despite failure of the non-custodial parent to pay child support. Although this may be very frustrating to some, if the custodial parent “frustrates” the right of the non-custodial parent to visit with the child, the non-custodial parent could ask the court to change custody of the child based upon this frustration of visitation even though s/he is delinquent in payment of child support.

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