Child Possession and Child Support. Two Separate Issues.

 Possession and Child Support:  Related?  Not Really, No.

Possession and Child Support Information

Possession and Child Support are Two Separate Things

Want to watch a judge get angry?  It’s easy. One of the quickest ways to make a family court judge angry (or maybe just frustrated) in court is to tell him or her: “He is not paying child support so he can not see the kids” or “He does not let me see the kids, so I am not going to pay child support.”  Basically saying, possession and child support are part of the same argument.

Possession and Child Support Enforcement

Not True.  Possession and child support are two separate issues. If one parent is not letting the other parent see the children, then the other parent can file a motion to enforce possession. If one parent is not paying the other parent child support that has been ordered, then the other parent can file a motion to enforce child support. Parents have right to possession and rights to support.

Each parent’s obligations are different. It is up to the court to sort these issues out, not the parents. In fact, the Texas Family Code prohibits a judge from conditioning a child support obligation on whether the parent allows possession. Basically, if you use possession or child support as a weapon to avoid the other, it will not work. The judges understand that, in essence, you are saying that it is OK for you to be bad if the other person is bad also. That just won’t fly in most courts.

A corollary involves the parent who WANTS the other parent to get the kids but he or she won’t. When people are going through their divorce, they frequently go to great lengths to ensure that they get the maximum time with the children. Every minute is precious. Of course, after a while, they realize that they need a break, just like everyone else. When the people were married, it was easy for one to relieve the other from having to deal with the children. Now, they need a break, but the other parent just won’t exercise his or her possession. So, we get questions about how to make them do it. The truth is that you can’t. The judge cannot make a person do something. Of course, there are things that the judge can do. For example, if a parent does not exercise possession, there is an argument that the first parent needs more child support. In a case where the father sometimes did not show up for pick up the kids, I have been able to secure an order that the father would have to pay for child care if he did not give four days’ notice that he was not going to pick up the children (mom worked on those Saturdays.) Your attorney should be able to help you sort out what you can and cannot do.

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