It Depends on Your Circumstances, but There Are Two Main Paths
Video Transcribed: Paying child support but not being allowed to see your kids? Here’s what you do. I’m Tulsa family law attorney James Wirth and I’m answering frequently asked questions related to family law and that’s the question that’s come in today is, “I’m paying child support but I’m being denied visitation. What do I do?” Okay, well, it depends on your circumstances a little bit. There are two main paths here.
So if you have a court order for visitation and it’s being denied, irrespective of whether you’re paying child support or not because those are independent obligations, so whether you’re paying child support or not, that is contempt of court and you can file a contempt of court action with the court. Set it for an arraignment, if the party is found guilty they can actually be thrown in jail for up to six months for violation of a court order.
In practice, most of the time nobody gets thrown in jail unless they continue to violate the court’s order, but they can put that threat of jail over the person’s head to make sure they comply going forward, which is what is commonly done.
Okay, but the big problem with contempt cases is they take a long time to complete. There’s a lot of due processes involved because you’re talking about potential imprisonment.
So luckily Oklahoma statutes have another tool over parents being denied court order visitation, and it’s a motion to enforce. So you can file a motion to enforce, get that set for a court hearing by statute, that hearing is supposed to be set within 21 days so that gets you where you need to go more quickly.
Okay, but what if you don’t have any court order in place? So if it’s a child that’s born outside of marriage, maybe mom’s got de facto sole custody because of that and your rights and visitations have not been established, the same thing in that child support and whether you’re paying or not is irrelevant. Okay, the obligation to pay child support and the obligation to allow visitation, they’re completely separate.
They’re not contingent on one another. So if you’re being denied contact with your child, under those circumstances, you’ve got to get into court and get your rights established.
You file a paternity action or a custody action if paternity has already been determined, requesting orders related to custody and visitation. Once you have those court orders in place, they can be enforced as I said before through contempt and a motion to enforce.
So depending on what your situation is, you either need to get into court to get an order set, or you need to enforce the order that’s already in place. In either scenario, whether you’re paying child support or not, you’re going to be entitled to your visitation if it’s ordered.
And if it hadn’t been ordered yet, it’s likely in the best interest of the child for it to be ordered so get it into court so the judge can do that for you. If you’re in those circumstances, you’re going to want to talk to an Oklahoma fathers rights attorney about your specifics, contact somebody in my office by going to makelaweasy.com.