If my spouse won’t honor my visitation rights, can I stop making child support payments?
Simply put – no. Child custody/visitation rights and child support obligations are two different matters. You need to keep paying child support. Meanwhile, you can take other steps to protect your right to spend time with your child. Child support is determined by either agreement of the parties in a divorce settlement or by a court order. If you stop making these payments, you could face a contempt of court charge, breach of contract lawsuit, garnishment of your wages or other consequences. So, continue paying (unless a job loss or other reason requires you to seek a modification of your child support obligations). If you have visitation rights, it is because a court agreed that it was in the best interest of the child. Whether they were stipulated to in a separation agreement or ordered by a court, your visitation rights must be honored by your spouse. In other words, unless a court finds that visitation does not meet the child’s best interest, you are entitled to visitation regardless of what your spouse wants. You can pursue contempt of court or contract remedies to enforce your rights if your spouse refuses to honor them. In many cases, this is a matter that can be resolved outside of court through negotiations between attorneys. To learn more, please see our pages on Child Support and Child Custody and the N.C. General Statutes on support and custody issues.