New Jersey Child Support and Visitation: Is There a Connection?

Let’s face it – sometimes non-custodial fathers are delinquent in their child support payments. What is a custodial mother’s recourse? Perhaps, the custodial mother can call the probation department or file a motion to enforce litigant’s rights. There are many ways to enforce support orders and/or agreements.

May the custodial mother prevent her ex from seeing his children? Quite simply, the answer is ‘no’.

Make no mistake about it, a father’s refusal to pay child support is frowned upon. However, it is not up to the custodial mother to decide in what manner to best enforce support, especially if the actions affect children. This issue should be handled by the Courts.

Parenting time rights are not interdependent with the obligation to pay child support. Consequently, failure to pay child support ordered by the court is no defense to a denial of parenting time. Kaplan v. Kaplan, 214 N.J. Super. 210, 219 (Ch. Div. 1986).

As Kaplan so clearly states, visitation and the ability to make child support payments are not interdependent.

A child’s best interest is served when both parents remain active and involved in his/her life.

A part of the child’s right to know, love and respect both parents is a right to parenting time with the noncustodial parent. Daly v. Daly, 39 N.J. Super.117, 123 (Cty.Ct. 1956), cited in Barron v.Barron, 184 N.J. Super 297 (Ch. Div. 1982).

This right of parenting time is a shared right between parent and child and the best possible parenting time schedule will be accorded to the parties to uphold this right. L v. G, 203 N.J. Super. 385, 390 (Ch.Div.1985).

Visitation rights are liberally granted, consistent with the best interests of the child. Sheehan v. Sheehan, 51 N.J. Super.276, 291s (App.Div. 1958), certif.. den. 28 N.J. 147(1958).
Even in the most extreme cases, the Court will seek to accommodate the natural rights of the parent to reasonable parenting time. See In the matter of J.S. & C., 129 N.J. Super. 486 (Ch. Div. 1974), aff’d 142 N.J. Super 499(App. Div. 1976).

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