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Do you have to pay child support to see your child?

You do your best to provide for your child and to comply with the court’s support order. Due to a recent injury, serious illness, job loss or other factors, though, you may find yourself falling behind on your support payments. In response, your child’s other parent refuses to let you see him or her.

Understanding your rights as a noncustodial parent may help you protect yourself, as well as your relationship with your child.

Falling behind on child support

According to the Texas attorney general, making or not making child support payments has no direct effect on your custody or visitation arrangements. The court decides custody and support issues separately, issuing orders for each. Just as you must comply with the support order, so must your child’s other parent follow the visitation agreement, and the two do not affect each other. Therefore, your child’s other parent cannot take it upon himself or herself to punish you for falling behind by keeping your child from you.

Addressing visitation violations

The attorney general has resources available to parents who have had their visitation rights violated. Even if you owe past-due support, you may take action to ensure you get to see your child as scheduled. The court will sometimes hold parents who fail to follow custody or support orders in contempt, which may result in fines, jail time or both.

The last thing you want as a parent is to jeopardize your child’s care. Pursuing options for a modification or other alternative arrangements may help avoid issues that may affect your relationship with your child.

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