Unhappy child with spouse after family divorce

Child custody is a difficult and emotional part of a divorce. And those issues do not necessarily end once you reach a child custody agreement. Problems may occasionally arise after a divorce, typically involving children. A common issue parents face is their child refusing to visit the other parent. If your child insists on not visiting your ex, your instinct will probably be to give them their way. A child custody arrangement is supposed to be about what is best for the child, right? But before you decide on what you should do, here are a few things to consider before moving forward.

Legally Required

Remember, a child custody agreement is not just a casual agreement between you and your ex. It is a legally binding contract that both of you are obligated to uphold. If you don’t follow the decided arrangements, meaning that you don’t drop off your child on the specified day and time, you could face legal charges.

Understanding Your Role in Visitation Arrangements

A child custody order requires parents to make a child reasonably available for visits, though making a child available doesn’t mean that one parent has to force them to visit or drag them kicking and screaming. For example, the arrangement might be that their father gets them on the weekend with pick up at mom’s house; their mom doesn’t have to physically deliver the child to dad. If mom can’t get a teenage child to leave her bedroom, it’s probably not mom’s fault that the visit didn’t happen.

However, each parent needs to communicate with the other parent when the child is sick or unable to make a scheduled visit. A parent who quickly and frequently talks to the other parent when a child is refusing visits will have a better outcome in court.

Although you need to follow the terms of your custody order as carefully as you can, there are situations where a visit may be impossible. For teenagers, especially older teens, they may refuse visits, and there is not a lot you can do as a parent. Though, with younger children, you may need to do more to make sure they don’t miss their time with their other parent.

Dealing with a Child Who Refuses Visits

If you have a stubborn child, the last thing you want to do is give in to them. It would help if you instead tried to find out why your child is refusing the visits in the first place.

·   Did something negative happen at their other parent’s home?

·   Have any significant changes in one parent’s household occurred that may be affecting the child’s attitude toward visitation?

·   Are visitations between the parent and child new, and your child is having a hard time adjusting?

There are so many different circumstances that could be causing your child to act up, and each one will require a different solution.

To protect yourself in court, make sure to document each incident when your child refuses a visit and the reasons for your child’s refusal. You may have to testify in court, and having these documents can help you. The best thing you can do is to contact your ex as soon as possible. Give them a chance to talk with your child or develop other strategies together to help make the visit happen. 

When a child refuses to visit their parent, it puts both parents in a tough situation. At the same time, your child’s safety is important, but so is protecting yourself. If you still have questions about visitation, contact a Chandler family law attorney at Shaffer Family Law for advice.

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