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Linking Child Support with Child Custody Is Not Good for the Kids

The fact that a parent pays or does not pay child support has little bearing on the parent’s relationship with his or her children. The family code recognizes it is public policy for children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. This policy is based on well documented research and the overwhelming opinion of experts who believe it is harmful to a child’s development to be denied access to a loving parent. And as hard as it may be to believe, children usually love both parents even when one of them has a bad history of paying child support.

Danielle Lloyd, a well known professional soccer player, recently tweeted complaints about his ex-wife denying him access to their children because of a dispute over money. “I pay 15k a month for my ex and children to live in a house and she won’t even let me see them…” Mr. Lloyd is not alone. During my years practicing family law, I have observed parents withholding visitation based on the other parent’s failure to make timely child support payments. I have heard parents express that because they pay child support on time they are entitled to the parenting plan of their choice. Both ways of thinking are wrong.

Children should not be treated as pawns by parents in their attempt to gain the upper hand, even when it comes to child support. Parents who are considering such action should know the family court is likely to come down hard on a parent if it learns about such behavior. In fact, the family court may be inclined to take primary custody away from the parent caught withholding visitation. When a parent fails to pay child support there are effective remedies that do not involve withholding children, such as filing an OSC for Contempt of Court.

Nobody deserves an award simply because he or she has a history of making child support on time. Moreover, parents who boast or complain about the amount of child support they pay are apparently ignorant of the fact that the amount of support they pay is usually only a fraction of the cost of raising children (especially teenagers). Regardless, children should not be made to suffer because of a dispute between parents over child support.

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