When can a parent choose not to pay child support

Sometimes, a spouse will complain that the other spouse is interfering with their visitation rights, which is just a fancy way of saying that one spouse is not permitting the other to see their child. Under those circumstances, the spouse might ask if he/she still has to pay child support. The short answer is yes.

In Cooper v. O’Rourke, 32 Ca. 4th 243 (1995), the trial court entered an order terminating child support upon a finding that the child’s mother was intentionally frustrating the father’s efforts to maintain contact with the child. This order was based in part on the father’s testimony that he had tried to call his daughter twice, but he received no answer. Plus he sent his daughter a birthday card asking her to call him collect, but he received no response to this card.

One parent’s interference with the visitation rights of the other does not affect the duty of support, unless the custodial parent actively conceals herself and the child from the noncustodial parent until the child reaches adulthood. Here, at most, the evidence establishes that the custodial parent interfered with the other parent’s visitation rights for only four months. Therefore, the appellate court ruled that the trial court erred when it altered the child support order.

An aggrieved parent can seek reimbursement for expenses resulting from the thwarting of a parent’s efforts to exercise visitation privileges. If you are dealing with a similar issue, please contact a Sacramento family law attorney who knows the best way to aggressively protect your custodial rights.