Ask any divorced parents what they fight about, and it almost always boils down to issues related to their kids. There are a lot of myths and falsehoods about child support and child custody, and we wanted to address those myths today.

Is child support connected to visitation?

A common misconception between parties of a high-conflict divorce is that visitation and payment of child support are related. They’re not. They’re as far apart legally as paying alimony and splitting marital assets. In fact, failure to pay child support and denying visitation are quick ways to land yourselves back in court, not to mention in jail.

A parent can be held in contempt of court for both failure to pay child support and for not complying with the custody order. Both of these events are direct violations of a court order, and an aggrieved party who can show cause may not only be able to hold the other party in contempt, but use the violation to begin building a case for modification of the custody order.

Can my time with my kids be denied I’m late on my child support payments?

The short answer is “no,” but that doesn’t stop parents with primary residential custody from using it as a means to punish the non-paying parent. The problem is that you aren’t just punishing the parent, you are punishing your child – and interfering with the parent-child relationship. Alienation of parental affection can be grounds for a material change of circumstances to approach the court for a custody modification.

Child support payments need to be made in accordance with the court order. If the paying parent is in arrears, you need to reach out to an attorney to deal with it legally. Sometimes that may require going back to court.

Can child support payments be decreased if I spend more time with my kids?

The number of days awarded to a parent can have a big impact on child support. The more days a non-custodial parent spends with the child, the less his or her child support obligation will be. This does not mean that a parent can unilaterally reduce his/her support payments because of spending more days with the children; it is the actual court order for child support which takes into account the number of days a parent spends with his or her kids.

If you wish to spend more time with your children, and seek a decrease in your child support payments, you will have to modify the child support order. An attorney from our team can help you with that process.

Divorce is hard, and divorce when you have children can be even harder. If you have been denied time with your child, or wish to seek a modification to your child support or child custody order, the Nashville family law attorneys at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC can discuss your legal options. Reserve a consultation by calling our office at 615-454-9899, or reach out to us through our contact page.