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Missed visits without a phone call, missing support payments and constant problems with inappropriate behavior in front of the kids are just some of the problems you’re experiencing with your ex-spouse. You’re understandably frustrated. It certainly seems like the most reasonable thing to do is to withhold visitation until they shape up.

This is not the time to act rashly. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Visitation is not yours to grant or deny. If there’s a court order regarding visitation, that controls your rights and the rights of your ex-spouse. You can’t further limit or deny your ex their visitation without falling afoul of the law.
  2. The failure to pay child support never has any bearing on visitation. Under the law, visitation and support are controlled by two different orders. Your ex’s failure to live up to their financial obligations can come with penalties from the court, but not from you.
  3. If you do withhold visitation unwisely, the court can punish you for interfering with your ex-spouse’s parenting time. You can be subjected to contempt of court proceedings, fines, jail and even the loss of your own custody and visitation rights.
  4. Depending on the circumstances, you could even be accused of parental kidnapping. That’s not a charge you want to deal with when you’re concerned about custody.

Whatever your feelings about your ex-spouse and what they have done wrong, you just have to go through the proper channels to accomplish your goals. If you’re unhappy with the parenting agreement and believe that your child is suffering because of it, you need an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate your legal options.