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Will I lose my visitation rights if I fall behind in child support?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Family Law

Parents who pay child support sometimes think that they are “buying the right” to see their child. However, this is not true. Child support is simply intended to ensure that the child’s needs are catered for. As such, it cannot influence custody, which is another court order.

Once the court issues a child support and custody order, both parties are bound by them. You cannot change the terms of the order on your own, and neither can the other parent. This means that the other parent cannot withhold visitation and neither will the court revoke your parental rights because you are unable to pay child support.

So what happens if you cannot pay child support?

Both parents have a duty to provide for the child until they attain the age of independence. Under Hawaii law, child support payments can be made via mail or online. You can also directly pay child support to the receiving parent. However, it is important that you have this in writing and keep a clear record of all payments.

That said, it is not uncommon for the paying parent to fall behind on their child support payments for whatever reason. Perhaps, you’ve lost your source of income or are dealing with a medical situation that is taking a toll on your finances. Whatever the situation, falling behind in child support can lead to serious consequences like suspension of your driver’s license, interception of your tax refunds or garnishment of your paycheck among other penalties.

Protecting your visitation rights

If you have not been paying child support, and you have valid reasons for this, you may be able to petition the court for a modification of the existing order. You cannot lose child support because of financial hardship. Find out how you can safeguard your custody rights while modifying a child support order.