If your ex-spouse is frustrating your efforts to visit your children, should you have to pay child support? A Brooklyn New York appeals court thinks not. In a case involving a father who was prevented form seeing his son by the child’s mother, the court ruled that the father was not obliged to pay child support, thus reversing a lower court ruling denying the father’s petition to suspend payments.
Since a visit with the child in 2010, the a New York father’s attempts to see his son were met with resistance in the form of no-shows at arranged meeting times and places or, the child’s refusal to exit the car on the rare occasion that the mother and son did show.
Apparently the mother revealed a pattern of inappropriate hostility toward the father, a finding corroborated by witnesses. The mother stated many times that she would never allow the father to see his child and would do “whatever it takes” to keep the boy away from the father. The forensic examiner in the case testified that the mother’s interference with the schedule of visitation resulted in a pattern of alienation between father and child.
Weighing all the facts, the court suspended the father’s requirement to pay child support. The court noted that parents have a duty to offer continual support to their children, however, if the noncustodial parent establishes that his or her right of reasonable access to the child has been unjustifiably frustrated by the custodial parent, child support payments may be suspended. In support of this finding the court cited a related case, Matter of Thompson v. Thompson, 2010 NY Slip Op 08120 (78 AD3d 845), where a mother deliberately frustrated visitation through manipulation and encouragement.
Although the father has been freed from the obligation of child support, the core issue of enforcing visitation was not successful. Despite participating in therapy to foster a relationship between father and son, the child, now 13, remains vehemently opposed to resuming ties with the dad. Due to his age and his ability to communicate his wishes, the judge declined to enforce visitation.
If you have a child support or child custody concern, contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell, PC. Ron has successfully helped clients in Libertyville and surrounding communities with various family law matters. Call today.
Source: New York Law Journal, “Father Not Obligated to Pay Child Support, Panel Finds”, by Andrew Denney, September 9, 2015.