Failing to pay Child Support after Custodial Parent Denies Visitation

Generally, in New York, child support payments must continue even if parenting time is denied. However, in a recent New York case, Matter of Coul v. Rottman (2015), the New York Appellate Division ruled a father could withhold child support payments where the mother denied visitation to the father “many times” and stated she would “never allow the father to see the child” while doing “whatever it takes to keep the child away” from him.

In another Second Department New York case, Matter of Sulivan v. Plotnic (2nd Dept. 2016), the court upheld the trial court’s decision to suspend the father’s obligation to make future child support payments where the mother frustrated court-ordered therapeutic visitation and referred negatively to the father in the presence of the children. The court also emphasized the mother’s failure to make an effort to assist the children in fostering a more positive relationship with the father.

The outcome of your case may be highly dependent on the court that decides your case and the unique facts and circumstances involved. Specifically, if you live in the jurisdiction of the Fourth Department (Buffalo, Rochester, Geneva, Canandaigua), courts may not follow the reasoning in the Second Department. In fact, the general rule throughout most of New York, notwithstanding these recent Second Department decisions, is that even where a parent is denied visitation, that parent must continue making his or her court ordered child support payments.

If the facts of your case are similar to the facts above, it is critical that your attorney is familiar with the current status of the law as it may fluctuate.

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