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Can I keep my children from my ex for not paying child support?

It can be a challenge for many custodial parents to receive child support in Minnesota and elsewhere. Despite a court order for child support being in place, your ex might not be paying what he or she is supposed to pay. This can understandably be frustrating and create a financial hardship. If you are not getting child support, it can be tempting to take matters into your own hands, but what are the repercussions to this?

A common response to not getting child support is to withhold visitation of the children. Many parents justify that if their ex is not paying, he or she should not get to see the children. They may think that by withholding visitation, the noncustodial parent will decide to start paying again. However, as FindLaw cautions, there are legal consequences to withholding visitation. If your parenting arrangements were outlined in your divorce decree, you would be violating a court order by not allowing your ex to see the kids, and you could be held in contempt of court. This may result in unfavorable actions, such as a modification to your custody agreement and even losing custody of your children.

Regardless of how frustrated you are and how long it may take the system to catch up, it is in your best interests – and your children’s – to leave child support enforcement to the courts. You have numerous options, such as reporting the lack of child support payment to your child support representative, which may start the enforcement process against your ex. This information is not meant to substitute for legal advice.

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