Can I Deny Visitation for Unpaid Child Support in New Jersey?

What Are Your Rights When Child Support is Past-Due?

Can I Deny Visitation for Unpaid Child Support in New Jersey?When you’re a custodial parent to minor children, payment of child support by your ex can help ensure that you can keep a roof over your head and put food on the table. When your former spouse clearly has the resources to pay child support, but refuses to do so, you can feel considerable resentment when your children leave for visitation. Can you deny the other parent access to the children because of a failure to pay child support?

The Right to Visitation is Not Conditioned on Payment of Child Support

In New Jersey, as in all states, the right of a non-custodial parent to regular access to and visitation with minor children is not tied to the payment of child support. Though the non-payment of child support can create significant problems, denying visitation will typically only make things worse, as it will constitute a violation of a court order (your divorce decree) and could potentially place you in contempt of court.

Furthermore, absent a showing that the non-custodial parent poses a physical threat to the minor children, it’s unlikely that a court will issue an order denying visitation with minor children. That does not mean, though, that a custodial parent who is not receiving child support cannot petition the court to change the terms of visitation. However, the courts will be unlikely to issue an order that negatively affects the children.

A better approach, when child support is not being paid, is let the matter be handle by the Probation Division of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. How do you do that? Well, as a general rule, unless you agree to some other method of payment in your divorce decree, that will be the default method for payment. With that approach, all child support payments will be made to the Probation Division, either directly or through wage garnishment. The Probation Division will keep records of all support paid, and has the power and authority to engage in collection actions, when there are arrearages. The Probation Division has a number of tools at its disposal, including:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Attachment of tax refunds
  • Suspension of passport or driver’s license renewals
  • The issuance of an arrest warrant for contempt of court

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.