What to Do if Your Child Doesn't Want to Visit Other Parent

Updated on April 14, 2023
Updated: March 16, 2023

When a child resists visiting one of their parents, it can be a source of stress for all involved. You may wonder what you should do if your child doesn't want to visit other parent? Both parents should be aware of the legal obligations they must adhere to about the visitation schedule while trying to ascertain why and address the fears that the teenager or minor child may have.

Expert counseling services may be able to assist in de-escalating tensions, reducing conflict, and finding an agreeable solution to parenting plans. Our child custody attorneys at Tommalieh Law understand how challenging parenting schedules can be and are ready to assist families through this difficult process and avoid legal action.

What Are Parents' Visitation Obligations?

In the past, custodial orders typically gave noncustodial parents rights to reasonable visitation but did not specify the time duration or exact timings. Custodial parents were obligated to make sure their children followed the parenting schedule and attended the designated visitation times. Parenting plans typically include schedules with details on both parents' responsibilities when it comes to dropping off and picking up children, as well as communication protocols for unexpected circumstances.

child upset about going to visit her other parent

For children of divorce maintaining good lines of communication and a healthy relationship, between parents is important. If a child is unable to attend an appointment, the custodial parent should inform the other parent promptly. The noncustodial parent has the same responsibility when the child is unable to come back within the allotted timeframe. If uncertain about what to do for your child to visit the other parent, refer to the child custody agreement for further information.

When a child refuses to visit with a parent, the court's main concern is the best interests of the child. They will investigate why the child may be resisting contact. If there is evidence of domestic violence, the court will look at different options depending on the severity of the situation.

Where no major danger has been identified but tensions exist between parent and child such as an unwillingness to follow household rules, intervention from specialists to examine underlying issues can help resolve issues without further court proceedings. Ultimately, communication issues can be resolved away from the courts.

Court Proceedings to Enforce Visitation Orders

For custodial parents, it is their responsibility to ensure that their child sees the other parent as part of a visitation agreement. Refusing or attempting to prevent visitations can have serious legal repercussions for both parties involved. If the contradiction between parent and child persists, the non-custodial parent could file an Order to Show Cause to obtain a hearing with the court. At this show cause hearing, they will be expected to explain why they are not upholding the parenting agreement set by the court.

FAQ: How much does a child custody lawyer cost in Illinois?

To avoid being charged as a parent in contempt the custodial parent should be prepared to do their best to convince the judge that it is the child who is resisting visitations. Evidence of cell phone messages, pre-recorded messages, and meetings with child psychologists should be presented if attempts have been made by both parties.

Requests to Alter Custody Arrangements Due to Visitation Issues

When custody is established, the custodial parent has a responsibility to foster parenting time or visitation rights. If these obligations are not fulfilled, the other parent may request modifications to existing arrangements. The judge will assess any changes that have occurred since the initial ruling and if a modified arrangement would best benefit the child.

All parental efforts to maintain contact between the child and both parents will be considered when determining which type of custody is most suitable. If an absence of visitation time is evident from one parent, this could influence the judgment regarding modification requests. Provisions for access to both parents normally create more stability and can positively impact their child's life in many ways.

It is important to follow court-ordered visitation schedules regarding children visiting their parents. Failure to do so can have severe legal consequences, such as being found in contempt of court and receiving a financial penalty or jail time. Thus, it is essential to adhere to family court agreements.

a mom comforting her son who doesn't want to go visit other parent

Although sending a child away may not be ideal at times, it is still important to follow the agreement nonetheless, and positive reinforcement techniques could be used to ensure the experience is pleasant for everyone. Ultimately, prioritizing obeying court orders is the right choice that will prevent further difficulties.

What is the Minimum Age When a Child Can Choose Not to Visit a Parent?

Age is an important factor when it concerns a child's refusal of parental visitation. Generally, children under 18 are not legally allowed to refuse visitation as set by their parents or the court. however, it is dependent on the laws of the state in which they live.

Teenage children may attempt to take control of the situation, but ultimately lack an absolute right to do so. Circumstances should be assessed based on each case individually. It must be carefully considered in each instance to decide what parenting arrangements are best for the child refusing visitation with one or both parents.

The Child is Expressing Reluctance to Visit the Other Parent

When a child does not want to visit with a parent, the repercussions can be severe. It can bring about distrust, an awkward situation between the child and divorced parents, and legal complications.

Learn More: Statistics about Children of Divorce in America

It is essential that family laws concerning such issues are understood so that your children’s best interests come first. If one parent isn't sure how to approach their child's refusal, understanding applicable laws and utilizing mediation services can be beneficial. Seeking a family lawyer for legal advice can make clear expectations between both parents regarding visitation rights established through court orders.

What Steps Should be Taken if Visitation is Denied or Interfered With by the Other Parent?

If a parent is restraining or impeding your child against visitation, a qualified family court lawyer can advise you on the best course of action. If there is an active court order still in place, you may be able to hold them in criminal contempt. Detailed information about this is available from family courts. Otherwise, if interference has been unreasonable, you may ask for physical custody of the child, or for the offending parent to be supervised or limited with their time. Ultimately, only professional legal counsel can accurately guide in such matters.

Notifying the Other Parent

When a situation arises where your child cannot make it to the scheduled visitation with their other parent, you need to inform them at once. It is important to contact them via a reliable form of communication that can provide written proof in case there is ever a legal issue that needs to be handled. Additionally, you should also document the incident and any changes on a shared calendar as well so that you have an external record of what transpired.

child hiding in a corner because he doesn't want to visit his other parent

Your attorney should always be consulted first when it comes to potentially contentious issues, but beyond that, it is just as important to ensure your co-parent knows exactly what happened so they feel in the loop. Notifying them early will help minimize any potential problems regarding scheduling conflicts or lack of knowledge related to their child’s whereabouts. You can even explain any adjustments your child needs to take based on missing the scheduled visitation time so everyone involved has all the necessary information.

Encouraging Visitation

Encouraging visitation with a non-custodial parent can be hard. Reasons, why a child refuses to visit, could include fear of abandonment, past issues, or lack of connection. It is important to maintain an understanding and calm environment in this situation. Establish a supportive atmosphere and have regular conversations with your child about the importance of building relationships across all households.

FAQ: What is the best way to go about getting divorced with children?

Prioritize your child in both homes, which will likely create an atmosphere where they will feel comfortable visiting the other parent's home. When children have love from each family unit, they will be much less resistant to visits with their non-custodial parent.

Contact Tommalieh Law Today!

If your child is refusing to have contact with their other parent, it is advisable to get professional support and advice. It's important to remember that, in most cases, both parents have a legal right to spend time with their children. Denying this right can be seen as a violation depending on the situation and you may need to consider filing for visitation rights or making modifications to the current court order. An experienced family law attorney at Tommalieh Law can assist you in understanding any legal options available and finding a suitable course of action.

Tommalieh Law attorneys offer services such as negotiating and altering existing arrangements with another parent as outlined by state regulations. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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