A father’s right to see his child is as important for the child as it is for the father. A child deserves to have both parents play an active role in the child’s life with very few exceptions (i.e. abuse, misconduct, etc.). North Carolina family law seeks to protect the rights of both fathers and mothers to spend time with their children and play an important role in the upbringing of their children. North Carolina family law does not favor one parent over the other when deciding issues regarding custody, visitation and child support.
Visitation and Child Support Payments
When a couple decides to divorce, their spousal obligations to each other will terminate when the divorce is final; however, their obligations to their children continue. Child support is a means for the non-custodial parent to contribute to the financial support of his or her child by paying a monthly amount to the custodial parent. North Carolina child support guidelines provide the formula used to calculate child support payments based on the parents’ income.
However, child support and visitation are separate issues completely independent of each other. Visitation is an important issue because it determines the schedule used by the non-custodial parent to spend time with his or her child. While North Carolina family law does not favor the mother over the father in child custody cases, many mothers are granted primary custody for a variety of reasons. They may be stay-at-home mothers, they may be living in the former marital home or they may have jobs that are more flexible to allow a parent to be home when the child is gets home from school. Regardless of the reason why the mother may be granted custody, it is important that the father’s right to visitation be protected for the benefit of the child as well as the father.
For that reason, child support and visitation are separate issues under family law to protect a father’s right to visitation with his child. A mother cannot legally deny a father the right to visitation if the father is unable to meet his child support obligations. The mother may have legal remedies if the father falls behind in child support payments; however, the mother cannot simply deny visitation to the father if he is not paying child support. If she does deny visitation, this is a violation of the father’s rights and the father should contact our office immediately to discuss his legal options for holding the mother in contempt for failing to allow court ordered visitation.
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