If you're recently divorced, and have primary custody of your minor children, you may be concerned about financially providing for their future. Although you may be awarded child support from your ex-spouse, this support can only help you if it is actually paid. What can you do if your ex-spouse refuses to support your children? Are you able to petition for termination of his or her visitation or parental rights? Read on to learn more about how this situation may be handled.
Can you restrict a parent's visitation for failure to pay child support?
In most jurisdictions, child support and visitation are issues completely separate from each other. In most situations, unless a parent is abusive or manipulative, it is deemed best for the child to have frequent contact with both parents through regular visitation.
Unfortunately, this can mean that even if a parent refuses to pay court-ordered child support, he or she may still be granted visitation with your children. If you attempt to restrict his or her ability to exercise visitation rights because of a failure to pay child support, you could find yourself facing a civil charge of contempt of court.
Under what circumstances may parental rights be terminated?
Although you are unable to restrict visitation without a court order, in some circumstances, you may be able to petition the court to terminate your ex-spouse's parental rights. This is a remedy that is ordinarily only granted in extreme situations -- such as cases of severe abuse or neglect. However, in some cases, you may be able to get your ex-spouse to agree to give up his or her parental rights if he or she will also be freed from the duty to pay child support.
The judge will still need to sign off on this decision, so you'll need to be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient means to support your child on your own, without using public aid. Because courts are able to garnish tax refunds and other income to collect past-due child support, they are reluctant to free a party from child support unless they are certain that the other parent will not be using government aid to support the children.
You'll also need to demonstrate that your ex-spouse has held no positive role in your child's life and does not intend to responsibly invoke parental rights in the future. For example, if your ex-spouse attempts to use your child as a bargaining chip or repeatedly makes promises he or she does not intend to keep, this may help convince the court that your child would benefit by the removal of your ex-spouse as a legal parent.
Talk to experts like those at the Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC for more information.Share
19 February 2015
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