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Father’s Obligation to Pay Child Support Eliminated by Appeals Court

father's rights lawyerThe Appellate Division for the Second Department, an appeals court, in the Matter of Coull v. Rottman, 2014-1516, held a father who had been prevented from seeing his son by the child’s mother no longer would be obligated to pay child support.

In this case, the father had last visited his son in February 2010. During the period of several months thereafter, the father would go to the pick up location on his parenting time days. The mother either would not show up, or would show up and the son would not leave the car.

Mother Extremely Hostile to Father

The mother took the position when she appeared in Family Court of extreme hostility towards the father. She stated on more than one occasion that she would never let the child spend time with the father. She said she would do “whatever it takes” to keep her son away from his father. Based on the mother’s intransigence and refusal to cooperate with regard to promoting the father’s relationship and visitation with his son, the appeals court suspended the father’s child support obligation. The court took the position that where the custodial parent prevents all reasonable access as to a child, the child support obligations may be suspended.

Father’s Visitation Suspended

It should be noted the mother’s cross motion in this case was granted and the father’s visitation was suspended. The child showed great hostility towards the father at the time of the court’s hearing. The court took into consideration the son was 13 years old and even though he had participated in therapy for a number of months to develop a relationship with his father, he was “vehemently opposed” to any type of parenting time between himself and the father.

Conclusion

This is a victory for fathers who have their visitation interfered with. But it is also a loss. As the expression goes, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. The same is true with children. Children who have been so alienated by one parent against the other sometimes cannot be therapeutically reunited with the other parent. Hopefully over time the father in this case will redevelop his relationship with his son.father's rights advocate on Long Island

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 30 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.