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Remember: Child support and visitation orders are separate

When a noncustodial parent has been ordered to pay child support but is failing to do so, the custodial parent might be tempted to deny the other parent's visitation time. But parents in New Jersey should keep in mind that child support orders and child custody orders are separate. While one parent could get into legal trouble for failing to pay child support, the custodial parent could also face serious legal ramifications for denying visitation.

So what can a custodial parent do if the noncustodial parent isn't making child support payments?

One thing to keep in mind is that some amount of child support is better than none at all. In other words, if the noncustodial parent can't make the full monthly payment, then the custodial parent can ask for at least some of the money. If the noncustodial parent simply doesn't have enough income to pay the ordered amount, then it may be possible to have the child support ordered modified.

More information about modifying a child support order is available on our child support page.

Custodial parents may also be more likely to receive child support payments if the noncustodial parent stays involved in the child's life. If the paying parent is denied visitation rights or drifts away from the child, the custodial parent is probably less likely to receive the ordered payments.

When talking the situation out with the noncustodial parent doesn't work, the custodial parent can go to the court for help in enforcing the order, which could lead to garnishment of the other parent's wages or assets.

In any case, parents should be aware of their legal options for protecting their children's best interests.

Source: Daily Finance, "What to Do When Your Ex Won't (or Can't) Pay Child Support," Geoff Williams, Nov. 21, 2013

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