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Can you stop paying support to get more time with the kids?

You get divorced, and your ex gets custody of the children. You do get visitation rights, though, so you are able to stay involved in their lives. They even spend some weekends at your house but live with your ex most of the time.

It works out all right at first, but then you start thinking that you want to see them more often. You're paying child support, after all, and you have never missed a payment. Regardless, your ex tells you that you can't see them any more than you are now.

Your first thought -- perhaps because you're frustrated with the whole thing -- is that you're not going to pay child support until you get more time with them. Why should you pay consistently if you don't see them as much as you want?

Don't do it. This is a breach of the court order. Remember, the court looks at child custody and child support as two completely different issues. You are legally obligated to pay. If you refuse to do so, you're breaking that court order, even if you feel like you have a good reason to do so. That can actually hurt your chances to see your children in the future.

That doesn't mean you have no options. You can sit down with your ex and have a conversation about how you want to be more involved in the children's lives. You can ask the court to modify the agreement to give you more time. Realize that there are options. The key is to understand what legal steps to take, rather than taking things into your own hands.

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Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061

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