Judge Richard Lawrence, Family Court, Nassau County, noted in Matter of FS-P v. AHR, published in the New York Law Journal on August 31, 2007, that “a court may suspend a non-custodial parent’s duty to provide child support after a finding that the custodial parent has willfully denied or interfered with visitation or has engaged in ‘parental alienation.'”
At issue in this case was whether the father could raise parental alienation as a defense before there was a support order. The father was seeking to invoke this defense to the mother’s request for an order of support. Judge Lawrence recognized that after an order is issued, the court can relieve the father of the responsibility if there is interference with child visitation. But, can the father raise it as a defense to prevent an order from being issued in the first place? In this instance, the Judge said it is a defense.
A couple of points: (1) If there is a support order in place, I’d strongly advise against stopping the payments if there is game playing on the visitation. As long as there is a court order, it must be obeyed. If there is game playing on the visitation, then the remedy is to go to court and ask to Family Court judge to suspend support.
(2) If there is are no orders of visitation or support, and there is game playing on visitation, please don’t get mad, don’t do something foolish. While you could try and rely on Judge Lawrence’s decision, the better option is just go to the Family Court and make out a petition for visitation.
(3) Parental alienation is a big topic and I’m leaving that for another post.