Can You Restrict Visitation If You Seek Child Support?

If you and your child's other parent are separating or divorced, you may be wondering how you'll be able to financially support yourself and your child. At the same time, you may be reluctant to permit your child's other parent to take on the responsibilities of shared custody or visitation. Can you petition for alimony or child support while restricting your child's access from his or her other parent?

Read on to learn more about the intersection of these two legal rights and how they may affect your custody case:

When do you have the right to receive alimony or child support?

The issuance of alimony -- or regular payments to help supplement the income of the lower-earning ex-spouse or parent -- depends upon the laws of each individual state. Some states may bar alimony altogether, while others can allow it to be issued only in specific cases, such as when one spouse spent most of his or her working years staying at home and was unable to cultivate high-earning skills.

However, the issuance of child support for minor children is mandatory in each state, with the exception of a few specific instances in which it can be waived. These instances include situations in which the other parent is unlikely to ever find gainful employment (and therefore be able to pay child support) or where the other parent has absconded and cannot be located.

The amount of child support will vary depending upon the income and other expenses of your child's other parent, but should be provided until at least your child's 18th birthday, unless your child is emancipated at an earlier age.

Do you have to grant visitation rights to your child's other parent?

One common misconception of child support and custody law is that child support and visitation rights go hand in hand. Although most judges will grant at least limited visitation to both parents unless extenuating circumstances are shown, this visitation operates independently of child support. If a parent's influence is shown to be dangerous or harmful to a child, this parent may be denied access to the child, but still assessed child support.

If you believe your child's other parent should not be granted access to your child's life -- or should be granted only limited access -- you should consult an experienced child custody attorney. This attorney will help you assert rights on your child's behalf and ensure that the court makes a decision that is based on your child's best interests.