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The Consequences of Withholding Child Support in Texas

Posted on in Family Law

Travis County Child Custody LawyerAlthough there are some married couples who make the decision to end their marriage and are able to go through the process in an amicable and cooperative manner, the reality is that there are a far greater number of couples who go through the divorce process in a more adversarial manner.

Unfortunately, if the couple has children, the contentiousness of the marriage and divorce continues long after the divorce decree is signed and it is not uncommon for issues to arise regarding parenting time, child support, and other issues regarding the children. It can even lead to one of the parents interfering with the other parent’s parenting time. That parent may decide to retaliate by withholding child support. But as an Austin complex child custody lawyer can explain, these types of actions can lead to serious consequences with the court.

A much better – and legal – way is to contact your attorney to help guide you through the legal process of having a judge address your ex’s noncompliance with the court’s custody and visitation order.

Why Parents Withhold Support 

Divorce means severing strong ties, both emotional and financial. It is no wonder that the parent who is paying the child support gets upset when ordered to pay a substantial part of their income to the very person they are fighting to get away from.

This is only made worse when the recipient parent begins missing parenting time schedules, making excuses, taking unplanned trips, and keeping the children from the other parent. It is only natural that the parent would feel justified in withholding support until the recipient parent complies with the court-ordered parenting arrangement. However, the old adage, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” applies here, resulting in both parents disobeying the court’s orders.

It is important to understand that child support is not paid for parenting time rights. If you are a payor parent, you must keep perspective and understand that your support payments are not tied to your parenting time. In other words, there is no “this for that” relationship. You must pay, just as the recipient spouse must comply with the custody arrangement. If one parent violates his or her responsibilities, it does not give the other parent a pass to do the same.

What to Do if Your Ex Is Withholding Parenting Time

Every order that is issued by the court is a legal order that must be obeyed. This includes child custody orders. While there may be situations where a scheduled visitation needs to be changed, such as a child getting very sick, those situations should be few and far between. When a parent intentionally interferes with the other parent’s parenting time that is specified in the custody order, they can be held in contempt and face serious penalties. In some cases, if the court finds the interfering parent’s actions especially egregious, it could even result in a change in custody.

If your ex is interfering with your parenting time schedule or withholding parenting time, the first thing you should do is document all the occasions when this has occurred. You should also contact your attorney to discuss filing a Motion for Contempt against your ex. If the court agrees that your ex has violated the child custody order, the judge could issue a contempt of court citation against them. The judge may also award you extra time with your children to make up for the days you were blocked from seeing them. Your ex may also be ordered to pay your court costs and attorney fees that resulted in the need for filing the motion.

Contact a Texas Family Lawyer Today

Parenting time and child support are complex areas of law that require careful attention to the unique facts of each case. If you are losing valuable parenting time, you should continue meeting your obligations and call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 to meet with one of our skilled Austin complex child custody lawyers today.




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