Can I Stop Parenting Time if My Ex is Behind on Child Support?

Short Answer: No!

Under Tennessee custody laws, the issues of parenting time and child support are completely separate. Courts do this so someone isn’t denied parenting rights simply because they have fallen upon hard times financially.

Unfortunately, this situation is often abused, as many people who can afford to pay child support simply don’t. And, while it may seem unfair to allow someone to continue to enforce a court order about parenting time but not follow a court order about child support, the courts have made it clear that you cannot stop parenting time simply because someone isn’t paying support.

That said, just because you can’t stop parenting time for non-payment doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. There are a number of things you can do when someone doesn’t pay child support, including enforcement and, most importantly, a possible modification of parenting time.

Importantly, one of the factors that courts look at when considering what is in the best interests of a child is the “ability to provide” for the child. If your ex has stopped paying support, but still demands to see the child (and, maddeningly, still buys gifts, takes trips, etc.), it is possible to ask the court to hold him accountable and also possibly find that his refusal to pay should reduce his parenting time.

And that’s the important note: reduce, not stop. You cannot simply stop parenting time over non-payment. You have to go to court to change the order!

If you or someone you know is facing a divorce or custody case in Rutherford County, or surrounding counties, give us a call. We can help.

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