In your divorce, the court gives you primary child custody rights, but not without making some rules for your ex. The child will live with you; you and your ex have to work together to make decisions about the child’s future. In addition, your ex gets visitation rights to see the child for two days per week.

On top of all of this, your ex earns significantly more money than you and gets ordered to pay support. Not two years into the agreement, the payments stop coming entirely. That court order still stands, but your ex refuses to pay.

You decide that you won’t let your ex see the child until he or she gets caught up on those payments. You’re going to deny the visitation rights, and you feel justified in doing so. Is this legal?

It is not. Never deny visitation rights. It’s a common myth that you can do this to try to force your ex to pay. You cannot. Just because your ex broke one court order does not mean that you can do the same thing. You must follow the order as it was handed down by the court.

Yes, this is frustrating, and wanting to do something about it is only natural. But denying visitation is not the way to do it. Instead, take the time to find out more about the legal options that you have. It’s not that you can’t do anything to force those payments. You just need to know what you’re legally allowed to do and how to get started.