When going through a divorce with minor children, you and your ex-spouse will address the issues of child support and child visitation. Far too often, divorced couples assume that child support and child visitation are tied to each other.
However, as they often find out, after being taken back to court, they are mutually exclusive and separate Orders. As such, the courts will treat child support and child visitation differently. To better illustrate why we will review a few different scenarios below.
Scenario #1: The custodial parent is refusing visitation because child support is not being paid.
This is a common occurrence that arises when the non-custodial parent is not making child support payments, under-paying, or making payments late. The custodial parent can get upset and decide to punish the non-custodial parent by not allowing access or visitation with their minor children.
How the courts will view this scenario is that both parents are at fault for not adhering to their Orders. The custodial parent cannot violate the child visitation order because the non-custodial parent is violating the child support Order.
The custodial parent must still allow visitation to occur as scheduled, even though they are not receiving child support payments. To address the non-payment of child support, the custodial parent should contact their Ottawa divorce lawyer for assistance and go back to court if necessary.
Scenario #2: The non-custodial parent is paying child support, but the custodial parent is refusing visitation.
Another situation that can arise is when the non-custodial parent is paying child support and adhering to the child support Order but the custodial parent decides for whatever reason that the non-custodial parent cannot see their children.
The courts would likely hold the custodial parent in contempt for not adhering to the child visitation order. If the custodial parent has concerns about the visitation schedule and Order, they should discuss these with their divorce lawyer to determine what, if any, recourse they might have and whether they could request a modification to the original Order.
Scenario #3: The custodial parent refuses visitation, so the non-custodial parent stops paying child support.
In this scenario, again, both parents would be held accountable for their actions under the appropriate Order. The custodial parent cannot refuse visitation. The non-custodial parent should not stop paying child support if access to their children is being denied. Rather, the non-custodial parent should speak to their divorce lawyer and take the appropriate legal actions to enforce the child visitation Order.
As evident, child support and child visitation are two separate Orders. If one parent is refusing to adhere to either Order, then the other parent will have to take legal action in court. They should not take matters into their own hands as they could also find themselves in trouble with the court, which may include cost consequences. However, there may be a situation where the unilateral refusal of visitation may be warranted (in cases of safety concerns regarding the children, the risk to their wellbeing, or others). A lawyer will be best suited to determine whether such a refusal would be advisable. If you are having issues with your ex-spouse adhering to child support or child visitation orders in Ottawa, contact Davies Law Firm at (613) 688-0462 today, for the legal advice and guidance you need, to protect your interests.