In a strict legal sense, these items are unrelated, and there is probably specific language in your divorce decree to that effect. But, in pragmatic terms, the two items are connected.
Breaking It Down
If an Orlando custodial parent impedes or outright denies visitation because of past due support payments, the parent is essentially holding the child for ransom. The fact that there is a legal obligation to make these payments does not change this fact, at least in the eyes of most family court judges.
However, if you file a motion to enforce visitation, be prepared to deal with the doctrine of unclean hands. It’s mostly found in contracts cases, but can be applied any time a judge is asked to grant judicial relief.
In a commercial case, unclean hands is an affirmative defense. Assume that Bud Buyer sues Sam Seller when Sam fails to deliver a car that Bud purchased. That’s normally an open and shut case, but if Sam proves that Bud wrote a hot check, or otherwise behaved unethically, the judge could dismiss the lawsuit.
How to Proceed
If you are in this situation in Orange County, and your wife is not an attorney or a regular reader of this blog, she probably does not know about this affirmative defense. Do not bully her, and do not ask your lawyer to bully her, but you can introduce a possible motion to enforce into the conversation. Mediation is usually a good next step – a motion is typically a last resort.
Your kids are, by far, the most valuable marital asset. For a consultation with attorneys who stands up for fathers’ rights, contact our office.