As a Rhode Island lawyer focusing my practice in the areas of divorce and family law there is something I here quite frequently from fathers who are seeking representation for their Rhode Island child support issues. It can be summed up in one statement that I hear repeated often,
“I shouldn’t have to pay all this child support to her when I don’t even get my visitation.”
Child support and visitation for Rhode Island fathers are separate and distinct issues. When you pay child support as the father of a child you are paying what the Rhode Island family court has deemed is your fair share for the needs of your child. These things include food, clothing, shelter, child care, medical needs, basic necessities, etc.
Fathers need to understand that regardless of whether they get their visitation or not through the mother of the child, that you are not paying for visitation. The two issues are separate and distinct.
Child support is not something that a father may, or should, withhold simply because he is not getting his visitation. While it is logically understandable from a father’s point of view because it may be the only “leverage” the father can think of to create compliance with his visitation rights, it can have drastic consequences.
A father who withholds court ordered child support in order to force his wife, ex-spouse or the mother of his child(ren) to comply with visitation, may quickly find that he is found in contempt by the court and held at the ACI until he complies with the court’s order.
If the mother of your child(ren) is not complying with a visitation order, it is never advisable to withhold child support. A father who is denied his court ordered visitation is, generally speaking better off filing a Motion to Adjudge the mother in contempt for denial of his visitation rights.