The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Legal Blog

My ex isn’t paying child support. Can I keep the kids from him?

As a single parent in Texas, few things can be as frustrating as not receiving the support you need to help care for your children. For some parents this means regular child support checks, while others would just like the other parent to spend some time with the children. If your ex’s child support payments are sporadic or nonexistent, you may understandably feel angry. Plus, the court system can be slow in enforcing child support orders. What if you were to take matters into your own hands by not allowing your ex to see his children until he fulfills his child support obligations?

You may not realize that withholding visitation can be considered a violation of a court order. You may be held in contempt of court and face numerous penalties, including fines and jail time.

Is it ever OK to withhold visitation?

Now you understand why it might be a bad idea to keep your children from your ex if he is not paying child support. However, what if you are worried for your children’s safety while they are visiting? Your ex may have been abusive during the marriage, and you fear that sending them to visit without your protection could put them in harm’s way. Or, your children might have told you that during visits, your ex and his new girlfriend are rarely at home, leaving them to fend for themselves. You may need to make a judgment call on whether to keep them from a potentially dangerous situation, but it would be in your best interests to petition the court as soon as possible for a custody modification.

How do I enforce an order and protect my children?

You may realize that disagreements in parenting styles may not be a sufficient reason to keep your children from having a relationship with the other parent. However, you should have legal recourse if you believe it is dangerous for your kids to visit, or if you are not receiving court-ordered support.

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