Can I stop contact if my ex won't pay child support?
Online and London based child support and children law solicitors
For advice on stopping contact or sorting out child support and childcare arrangements after your separation or divorce call the OTS Solicitors family law team on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form . We can set up a skype, video conference or telephone appointment for you with one of our friendly specialists in family law.
Can you stop contact if your ex won't pay child support?
In most parents’ minds child support and contact are linked. Typically, a parent who is refused contact will question why they should pay child maintenance for a child that they don’t get to see. Likewise, a parent who is the primary carer of a child will get frustrated if the other parent has regular contact with the child but doesn’t want to pay child support. Often a parent will say that the other parent only wants to see the child on their terms and that the other parent won't pay child support as they say that child maintenance isn’t necessary or that they can't afford it; whilst showering the child with expensive gifts during contact time.
Children law solicitors say that legally there is no tie between paying child support and getting to see your child. That means, in cases of parental alienation where one parent has alienated and indoctrinated the child so that the child won't see the other parent, the parent is still obligated to pay child maintenance .In addition, if a parent has regular contact with their child but won't pay child support you should not use contact as a weapon to secure child maintenance.
When looking at changing contact arrangements it is important to consider if the contact is taking place under a child arrangement order or on a voluntary agreed basis. This is because:
- If contact is taking place pursuant to a child arrangement order then the contact should not be changed unless the other parent agrees or you secure a variation of the contact in the child arrangement order. Stopping or changing contact that is taking place under a court order could result in the other parent starting court proceedings for the breach of the child arrangement order.
- If contact is taking place on a voluntary basis, with no child arrangement order in place, then if contact is stopped the other parent could apply to the court for a child arrangement order. The court would not normally take non-payment of child support into account when determining what contact is in a child’s best interests. There is a risk that if the other parent were to apply for a child arrangement order they could ask for and get more contact than they are currently having.
What can you do to get child support if you can't stop contact with a parent who won't pay child maintenance?
If threatening to stop contact won't really help in your securing child support, what can you do? The most obvious thing to do is to ask the Child Maintenance Service to carry out an assessment of child support and , if an ex-partner still won't pay child maintenance, you can ask the Child Maintenance Service to collect the child support and enforce payments.
If you are married (or were married to your children’s father and there is no clean break financial court order in place) you may also be able to apply to the family court for spousal maintenance to increase your monthly income to meet your household needs.
Prior to stopping contact or applying to the Child Maintenance Service for a child support assessment or the family court for a spousal maintenance order it is best to take specialist legal advice from a child support and children lawyer so you understand your legal options and the best way you can secure the child support you need for your children.
ONLINE AND LONDON BASED CHILD SUPPORT, CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW SOLICITORS
If you need help with sorting out child support or your financial settlement after your separation or divorce or need assistance with a children court application then the children and family law team at OTS Solicitors are here to advise and represent you to get you the best results. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form so we can set up a skype, video conference or telephone appointment for you with one of our friendly and approachable family law solicitors.