Child Support and Visitation

Many parents are confused about child support and visitation. Under the law, the two issues are actually separate, and parents need to recognize the distinctions between them. Whether you’re a non-custodial parent or the primary custodian with questions about child support and visitation, understand what your parental rights are.

Child support is a parent’s obligation regardless of his or her parenting experience or ability. A child is entitled to this financial support no matter what sort of custody and/or visitation arrangements are in place. Child custody determinations, on the other hand, are based on protecting the child’s best interests.

While multiple factors come into play, safety and consistency are generally high on the list. Non-payment of child support is not often considered a reason to limit kids’ time with their non-custodial parent. Courts may recommend generous visitation or even shared custody regardless of whether the parent required to pay child support is actually up to date on those payments. Unfortunately, when a non-custodial parent chooses not to adhere to a court-ordered visitation schedule, the custodial parent has very few options. No one can (or should) force children to visit with their parent if they don’t want to. The custodial parent must comply with the visitation schedule (sometimes called a parenting plan) established by the court. This is true even if the non-custodial parent is not paying their child support. While you can ask the court to enforce the child support order, you must continue to allow the visits as scheduled.

To learn more about the intersection of child support and visitation contact our family law experts at Justice Legal Group by calling us at 505-880-8737 or by emailing us at