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Child support may still be required in absence of visitation

Some Maryland parents believe that if they don't pay child support, then they don't have to be responsible for the life they helped create. What many don't understand is that child support and visitation rights are not connected. When a person is determined to be a child's father, he or she has a duty to pay child support. Read on to learn more about the laws regarding child custody and support.

The courts believe it is in the best interests of the child to have two parents. Therefore, it's not as simple as just signing away one's parental rights and never seeing the child again. The only way a mother or father could give up their rights is if there is another adult willing to take over parental rights, such as the parent's new spouse. In extreme cases, a parent's rights could be taken away if he or she is accused of abuse.

It's important to understand that a parent's right to visitation is not dependent on their payment of child support. So the noncustodial parent is allowed visitation rights despite his or her failure to pay child support. Along the same line, if owed, child support is required to be paid to the custodial parent no matter what. The absence of child support cannot take away one's visitation rights. The custodial parent could be held in contempt of court, but in the same token, the noncustodial parent could be punished or have his or her wages garnished so that the custodial parent receives financial support.

Child custody and support are much debated topics because unfortunately, many parents don't want to take responsibility. In many cases, a single parent is forced to financially, physically and emotionally care for his or her children alone, and this can cause anger and hurt feelings.

Source: The News-Gazette, "Child support, visitation not legally linked," John Roska, May 31, 2015

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