Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Tennessee

Q: The co-parent and I do not have a custody agreement. Live states apart.

She only let's me talk to them if I send her money. I am behind on child support but working and paying it off. It takes 50% of my income. I have receipts where I have sent the co-parent thousands of dollars outside of child support, but I have not been allowed to see them in 2 years. Now she says she will let me see them, but at the cost of $500 up front. I want my children, of course, but I am paying so much just to get to talk to them. Is this extortion? I have all the text evidence of these conversations.

1 Lawyer Answer
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Columbia, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Although it will take time and a lawyer, you need to file court papers to set up a "parenting plan" or schedule of visitation. You are required to pay child support, but at the same time , she is required to allow you to have time with the children. If you get a Judge to order the scheduled visits, she can be held in contempt of court ( and go to jail) for failing to obey the court order. If you don't seek to formalize a parenting plan, she can continue to hold the children "hostage" for money. Indeed, maybe you should also file to ask for full custody ( and have her pay YOU child support) - some Judges will say that any money who will use the children only for money like this are unfit to have custody.

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