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  • Writer's pictureSummers Family Law

You Still Have Rights as a Parent, Even if You Owe Child Support

Even if you're behind on your child support payments, it doesn't mean you've lost your parental rights. As a divorce attorney, I often see cases where a parent has fallen delinquent on child support but still wants to remain an active part of their child's life through parenting time.

Falling behind on support payments can happen for many reasons — job loss, illness, or other financial hardships. But unless your parental rights have been legally terminated, you still have a right to spend time with your children. The two issues of child support and parenting time are separate under the law.

I know it can feel hopeless if you get far enough behind on child support that your ex threatens to take away your parenting time. They may say you don't deserve to see the kids if you're not paying. But they cannot legally deny you visitation without going through the courts.

If you're in this situation, try to work with your ex cooperatively. Offer to provide whatever financial support you can, even if it's not the full amount owed. Suggest a phased-in parenting time schedule if needed. The court will look favorably on your efforts to maintain the parent-child relationship despite the child support challenges.

Get legal advice to protect your rights as soon as possible. The court can order make-up payments over time for past-due support. But time with your kids is precious — don't lose out. With some practical cooperation and legal guidance, many parents in arrears can still preserve a place in their children's lives.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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