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Megan Dansie

- 27 Mar 2015
  • Family Law

Tit for tat: Withholding child support, withholding access

Sometimes, in the midst of an acrimonious divorce, children can be used as a bargaining tool between warring parents.

It is common to hear parents threatening to withhold child support until they see the children, or parents banning access until they receive money.

These sorts of “tit for tat” games often hurt the children more than anyone.

Remember, child support is not a “ticket” to seeing children.

Parents are obliged to pay child support whether they are seeing their children or not.

The amount of this child support may vary according to the amount of time the children spend with each parent.

However, stopping contact with children because the other parent does not pay child support can backfire in custody proceedings.

If you are considering this as an option, get urgent legal advice to check if your reasons will be accepted by the Court as being in the child’s best interests.

Likewise, you need to think very carefully about coming to court about custody or contact with a child support debt.

The Judge could well take the view that you are not putting the children’s needs first.

If you can’t afford child support or think there may be reasons to change the child support assessment, contact the Child Support Agency, or get legal advice.