As New Jersey parents begin life after a split, they will typically have to deal with both support and custody issues. While financial support is the responsibility of both parents, some parents might choose not to pay or be unable to pay support. If this happens, visitation with the other parent should not be affected since it is a child’s right to have a relationship with both parents.
If a parent stops paying child support, the parent who receives the support should address the situation legally. This can be done by speaking with a representative from the state’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. This office can then assist with the collection of child support. It will provide legal consequences such as preventing the non-paying parent from getting a passport, garnishing their wages or unemployment payments and, in some cases, even requiring the parent to go to jail.
Don’t prevent a child from seeing their other parent
For courts, child custody and child support are two separate matters. That means that if a parent chooses to stop seeing their child, they would still be responsible for paying for their support. However, courts hold that it is in the best interest of the child to continue having a relationship, when deemed safe, with both parents even when there are issues with support payments. When issues come up, it is important to remember a variety of things, including:
- Visitation should only be prevented if there are genuine concerns about the child’s safety.
- There are legal channels to address non-payment of support and safety issues.
- Preventing the non-paying parent from seeing their child will reflect badly on the custodial parent.
The court will look at the best interest of the child and at each parent’s intent when dealing with issues involving children. Parents should document everything that is of concern and use the legal channels available to them with the help of a family law attorney.