Whether it’s sex or visitation, withholding is a bad plan. Why? Because, neither should be used as a tool to control another person. Withholding almost always has a negative connotation, and for good reason. People who withhold usually do so to gain power.
Let’s talk about contracts…I promise, it’s related. I have to begin by stating that I’m NOT an attorney and you should always check with your lawyer before doing something stupid. Contracts are something binding between two people. Breaking the contract results in legal action. It’s easier if you think of a contract as a law that is only imposed on the people who signed it.
So, you have a Marital Settlement Agreement, a Final Judgment, a Paternity Agreement, etc. (they are called many things but we will call it an “agreement” for our purposes here), with your ex, relating to your divorce and your children. This usually includes a schedule for visitation and child support. Understand that a breach of this contract, on either side, can result in a penalty for the person who failed to do their part, according to the agreement.
If you remember nothing, remember this: just because one party doesn’t follow through with their contractual obligations does not mean you don’t have to. If he/she doesn’t pay their child support, that does NOT mean that the other has the authority to withhold visitation of their children.
The beauty of child support is that the state regulates and tracks it (always pay it through the state, and if possible, straight from the paycheck to the state). If they stop paying, the state (at least the state of Florida) will put out a warrant for their arrest. You don’t have to do anything or file anything with the court.
Remember that contracts are basically laws that only pertain to those who sign it — always make sure to do your part. If they don’t, they can be held in contempt by the court. However, if you don’t do yours, then you are both in contempt for each of your individual breaches. Think of it this way, if the guy in front of you is speeding and you are following suit, does the police officer say that only the first person gets the ticket? Hell no, they pull all your asses over and laugh as they go down the line and ticket you all. You don’t get to break laws just because someone else does.
Withholding visitation is the fastest way to lose custody/visitation (custody is an outdated term unless DCF is involved). The courts look at who is the most likely to foster a relationship with the child(ren)’s other parent. If you are going to cut off your ex, expect the court to intervene.
Does that make your ex less of an asshole? Of course not. But I would be remiss if I said to do something that is spiteful, damaging to your children, and can cause you legal strife. I know it’s a pain, and it takes too long because the courts are bogged down with plenty of asshole exes. That being said, do it anyway. Do it right the first time, and you can avoid the bullshit that goes along with the, “he said, she said,” and who should be punished, how much, and for how long.
Keep your nose clean and your head up, and remember that withholding visitation is a bad idea.