Most people are under the assumption that if a parent (payor) fails to pay their child support obligation, the other parent (payee) has the right to withhold timesharing between the payor and the child(ren).
There are many parents who enter into settlement agreements that specify detailed timesharing arrangements as well as the amount of child support that is to be paid on a monthly basis. These agreements are adopted by the court and a final judgment is entered.
According to Florida law the two issues are separate and distinct. If either parent fails to live up their responsibility to either pay child support, or allow the timesharing that is ordered, a contempt of court proceeding could be initiated by the injured party.
Society is under the impression that the failure to pay child support timely hurts the child. This is not always the case. In most instances a missed child support payment does not affect the payee’s overall financial situation. Also, many times the missed payments are eventually made, sometimes only a short time after being due.
On the other hand, when the payee refuses to allow the timesharing between the payor and the child(ren) there can be devastating consequences to the child(ren) emotionally. In younger children the important “bonding” stage can be interrupted. These children grow up having problems trusting their mates or problems committing to long term relationships. Children need both a male and female role model at these early stages of development. In older children, feelings of abandonment and insecurity towards the payor (regarding their relationship with the payor), can leave these children scarred and the relationship between payor and child(ren) on rocky ground. Both younger and older children might feel that the payor doesn’t want to see them causing them to feel unloved by that parent.
The right to be supported by both parents and to have frequent and continuing contact with BOTH parents is not the right of the parents but that of the child(ren), and happens to be the public policy of the Great State of Florida.
Sam R. Assini is a member of the Florida Bar, practicing Family Law in Lee County, Florida. His firm’s focus is on Men’s Rights, aggressively representing the interests of husbands and fathers involved in divorce and other family law matters. He can be reached at (239) 829-0166, www.4themen.com. View his Divorce Magazine Profile.