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Your ex-spouse’s parental obligation to provide for the children you have together does not end with your divorce. The court may order your ex-spouse to pay you a particular amount for your children’s benefit on a monthly basis until they become self-supporting.

It can be frustrating if your ex-spouse does not fulfill the court-ordered child support obligation, especially if he or she does not explain why. However, there are good and bad ways to deal with this situation. Here is some general guidance.

1. Do not withhold visitation

You do not have the right to overturn the court’s orders in an attempt to force your ex to live up to his or her support obligation. Any attempt to do so is not only a violation of your children’s rights, but it can also backfire on you.

The New York State Senate explains that if you interfere with your ex’s visitation rights, the court can impose consequences on you. For example, if you also receive alimony, the court may suspend that and prevent you from receiving any back payments your ex would otherwise owe you.

2. Talk to your ex

There may be a reasonable explanation of why your ex has fallen behind on child support. Maybe a job loss or a demotion has decreased his or her income. Knowing the reason for the lapse can help you with the next step.

3. Request a modification

Either you or your ex can request a modification of the child support order if circumstances render the current obligation unreasonable. Whoever makes the request will have to demonstrate to the court why the change is necessary.