Using child support as bargaining tool for visitation rights
Fatwa No: 238765

  • Fatwa Date:8-2-2014 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 8, 1435
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Question

Assalam Aleikum. I divorced my first wife 6 years ago. We had one daughter with my ex-wife. I remarried since and have had 2 daughters. My daughter is 9 years old and living with my ex-wife (her mum). I have been paying child support all this time until 4 months ago when I moved abroad. The reason I stopped to pay child support (still paying her private school fees though) is in response to my ex-wife's refusal to allow my daughter to visit me abroad during school holidays as she insists that I have to return to home country just to visit my daughter. I requested for my daughter to visit me during summer holidays but my ex-wife insists that she wants to take my daughter other places during summer so I should travel to home country during the short school holidays to visit my daughter instead. This is not practical considering the cost and the new job I have to keep here (abroad). I have tried to reason with me ex-wife but in vain. So I decidec 4 months ago to stop paying the child support so as to pressure her to give me my visitation rights. Please note that I still pay her private school fees and don't intend to stop. My ex-wife claims that she's against my daughter visiting me abroad because she fears I will not return my daughter even though I have never done such nor do I have any intention to do such. I have already explained all this to her but she insists on her views. I feel that I am not being treated fairly by my ex-wfie. She has the right to decide whether and where I visit my daughter and I have no rights and at her mercy. My question: Is it allowed for the ex-husband to refuse to paying part of the child suport in response to ex-wife refusing to give the ex-husband his visitation rights for his children? Is it allowed to use the child support as a burgaining tool to get the ex-wife to allow child to visit her father abroad. Jazaka-Allahu kheir. Assalam Aleikum.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

It is impermissible for you to withhold child support for your daughter simply because her mother would not allow her to visit you abroad. You are not entitled to use child support as a bargaining tool to exercise pressure on her mother because it is an obligation on you to provide for your daughter as long as she is young and has no wealth of her own. Please, refer to Fatwa 163965.

You did the right thing by continuing to pay the fees of your daughter's school. We advise you to reason with your ex-wife and to try reaching a mutual understanding to cooperate in doing what is best for your daughter. Moreover, we advise you to be careful not to let any of these disputes reach your daughter; it is hard enough for her to handle your divorce and be away from her father. If you can travel to visit her, then do so; otherwise, you can communicate with her through the Internet or the phone, especially as you can see her through video calls.

Muslim jurists stated that the parent who has custody of the child does not have the right to prevent the other parent from seeing the child. We have clarified that in Fataawa 125277 and 131338.  However, the parent who has custody is not obliged to send the child to the other parent to see him. It was stated in Ad-Durr Al-Mukhtaar, "As-Siraajiyyah reads: 'If the mother is deprived of the right of custody over the child and it is given to the father, he is not obliged to send the child to her; however, she is not prevented from seeing the child." Ibn ‘Aabideen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented on that in his Haashiyah, saying, "Regarding the statement that the father is not obliged to send the child (to visit the mother), the same applies if the situation is reversed, i.e. when the mother is given the right of custody over the child, she is not obliged to send the child to visit the father; however, he is not prevented from seeing the child."

Allaah Knows best.

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