Sunday, 2 September 2012

Can I Keep the Kids if the Other Parent isn't Paying Child Support?

As a family law lawyer in Alberta, Canada, I’m frequently asked by clients who are having problems getting child support if they can withhold parenting time or access to the children from the non-paying parent.  Child support and parenting time (or access) with kids are two totally distinct issues in law.  You cannot withhold the other parent’s time with the kids simply because he or she is behind on child support payments.
Although its frustrating, if a parent is supposed to pay child support and isn’t paying, you are not entitled to suspend the time the other parent is supposed to spend with the children.  Instead, there are specific approaches that you can take if the other parent hasn’t been paying their child support.  You should ensure that your child support agreement or Order is registered with the Maintenance Enforcement office so that they will take care of dealing with late or missed child support payments on your behalf.
Don’t forget that Alberta family law principles are based on protecting and preserving the best interests of the child.  Usually, this means that children get to spend time with both parents.  Although you might reasonably argue that a parent who isn’t paying child support is also not respecting the best interests of the child, the law and the courts nonetheless don’t let you keep the kids away from the other parent for the purposes of getting child support. 
Watch for the next blog post about spousal support ("alimony") in common law relationships.

For even more family law tips & information, listen to Lisa's Radio Program, “Family Law Answers for Real Life” on demand at:

1 comment:

  1. Lisa thank you for sharing such valuable information. For many years I was a mediator in the family and community arena, a blog like this would have been such a valuable resource to share with clients. So glad you have started this blog, answering the questions that surface all the time in family situations, from the legal perspective, is essential. Keep up the great posts