Legal Question in Family Law in North Carolina

Do my kids have to visit their dad if he hasnt paid his child support?

My daughter visits her dad at christmas for a week per court order. However he is also ordered to pay child support and he hasnt in two months. Can I keep her here for christmas until he pays the past due amount?

Asked on 12/09/03, 8:03 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John McNeil Haas McNeil & Associates, PA

Re: Do my kids have to visit their dad if he hasnt paid his child support?

The simple answer is "Absolutely Not." Child support and child custody/visitation are considered two very separate issues in North Carolina, the Court will not listen to a tit-for-tat argument regarding money v. visitation, and the Court will look harshly on any action that frustrates visitation. While it is unfortunate that he has not to made a payment in the past two month, withholding visitation is not an option you can take. You would basically be punishing your child, or your child's development, for something her father has/has not done. If he has not paid because he does not have the ability to pay, you are also punishing him for something beyond his control. Time between a parent and child can never be turned back or found again, but a check for two month's child support can be written in one minute.

If you decided to withhold visitation over the money issue, he would have the option to file for an Order to Show Cause for violating the order regarding visitation. Continued violations of the visitation provisions could also reopen the custody case and allow him to sue for more visitation/custody than he already has. And the Court has the authority to and has acted very harshly regarding frustration of visitation.

Your only option for the child support may be to seek a Show Cause order bringing him into court to explain why he has not paid the child support. If he does not have a valid reason, the court can hold him in contempt and punish him for that contempt.

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Answered on 12/09/03, 9:35 am

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