In Maryland, all parents are obligated to financially support their children. When parents split up, a family court can order child support so the child’s financial needs are met. Child support orders can be included in child custody and divorce cases, but child support can also be ordered after paternity is legally established.
Unfortunately, once a child support order is issued, it’s not uncommon for the custodial parent to refuse to let the noncustodial parent see their children. Often, this occurs when the former couple is arguing over something or generally not getting along. In such cases, it’s common for the paying parent to lash back and say, “I’ll show you, I’ll stop paying child support.” While this may be a natural response, it’s not effective and we’ll explain why.
Child Support is Mandatory
What a lot of paying parents don’t realize is that child support is mandatory by law. Even if the custodial parent is refusing to let the noncustodial parent see their children, the paying parent is still legally obligated to pay child support. If they skip payments, all kinds of bad things can happen, such as bank seizures, driver license suspension, real estate liens, etc.
A paying parent cannot stop paying child support because they can’t see their kids, because they are unemployed, because they are disabled, mentally ill, incarcerated, or even terminally ill. The only way a parent is relieved of their legal obligation to support their children is if their parental rights are terminated.
What Options Do I Have?
If your ex is refusing to let you see your children or if they’ve fallen into a pattern of making excuses every time you’re supposed to see your children during your court-ordered parenting time, you have legal recourse. What you should do is contact an attorney ASAP and have them petition the court to enforce the court order. If your ex refuses to comply with the court, he or she can face legal repercussions, including contempt of court.
In the more severe cases where a parent is refusing to let their children see the noncustodial parent, and they don’t have a valid reason for it (e.g. domestic violence, child neglect, or substance abuse), a judge can change the custody arrangement and award primary custody to the noncustodial parent.
Do you need help with a child custody issue? If so, contact the Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis for a free phone consultation.