Can My Child Refuse to Visit the Other Parent?

Sometimes the trouble in carrying out a court’s visitation order has nothing to do with the parents themselves, but with the child. Despite discussing visitation orders and schedules with your child, he or she may refuse to go with the other parent when it is that parent’s parenting time. Some parents have experienced their children crying, screaming, and physically struggling when it comes time for visitation exchanges.

If you find yourself in this situation, it may seem like you have limited options. However, there are some points you should keep in mind when navigating this challenging terrain:

Your Child Does Not Have a “Right” Not to Visit With the Other Parent

First, you, the other parent, and your child should understand that the child does not have a “right” to decide whether he or she wants to visit the other parent, no matter the age of the child. Parental visitation is ordered not only because each parent has a right to spend time and develop a relationship with the child, but also because the child needs time with each parent in order to fully develop and mature. Neither you nor the other parent should tell the child he or she does not have to visit with the other parent if he or she does not want to.

To the extent possible (i.e., without resorting to physical abuse), you should try to carry out the court’s visitation orders.

Make Sure There Is Not a Serious Underlying Issue Making Your Child Not Want to Visit

Your child’s unwillingness to visit the other parent may be due to differences in parenting style or an inability to be near friends or participate in sports or other activities. While these may be normal childhood sentiments, they do not give your child reason to not visit with his or her other parent. You should, however, ensure that there are no more serious concerns, such as abuse or neglect, that are making your child unwilling to visit his or her other parent. If you have such concerns, report them to the proper authorities and/or your family law attorney to have them investigated.

Work Cooperatively With the Other Parent, if Possible

If you are able to work cooperatively with the other parent, discuss the matter with him or her and determine how best to handle the matter. If modifications to the visitation schedule are necessary, courts will generally approve and adopt these modifications so long as:

Work With a Dupage County Child Custody Attorney

Your DuPage County child custody attorneys at Arami Law can assist you with visitation and custody-related issues, whether caused by a parent who refuses to follow a court-ordered visitation schedule or a child who does not wish to visit the other child. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can put our knowledge and experience to work for you. Call or contact us through our website today.

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