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Can a Child Refuse to Visit a Parent?

By Iafrate & Salassa

A young boy sitting working on computer for school, hen looking for a change in custody arrangement contact Child Custody Attorneys Birmingham.

When a couple gets a divorce, it affects the entire family, particularly when there are children involved. After a divorce, it is not uncommon for one parent to be named the primary caregiver with the other parent being given visitation rights, with a certain amount of visitation days every month being allocated to them. This type of situation is sensitive enough, but it becomes even worse when a child refuses to visit the other parent.

Can Children Refuse Visitation?

Child custody orders are issued by the court and they are final and legally binding. If you do not allow your child to visit their other parent, you could be placed in contempt of court, which has serious penalties. You could even face these penalties if you want your child to visit their other parent but they refuse to do so.

The only time visitation can be refused is when the child’s safety is in danger. If you do believe your child is in danger, such as if they are being abused when they are with the other parent, you must speak with your Clinton Township family lawyer immediately. An attorney will know the steps to take to keep your child safe while also helping you avoid serious penalties.

What to Do if Your Child Refuses Visitation

It is not uncommon for a child to refuse to visit their other parent, even when their safety and well-being is not in jeopardy. It is also difficult for a parent to force their child into visitation, particularly as they get older. If your child is refusing visitation with their other parent, there are some things you can do. They include:

  • Document the incident: The worst thing you can do when your child refuses visitation is nothing. Document the incident, including the time visitation was supposed to take place, the steps you took to enforce visitation yourself, and the reason your child gave for refusal. You should also tell your former spouse right away about the refusal. If a court order prevents you from communicating with your ex, speak to your attorney.
  • Involve the other parent: Sometimes, children refuse visitation not because they do not want to see their other parent but because they do not want to be in their home. Perhaps they have step-siblings they do not get along with, or maybe their parent has a new partner that they are not comfortable with yet. In these cases, involve the other parent in trying to make the visits happen. Maybe they could come to your home or you could meet in a neutral location.
  • Talk to your child: It is crucial that you get to the bottom of why your child does not want to visit the other parent. If it involves an abusive relationship, you need to take action to stop it as soon as possible.

Call Our Family Lawyers in Clinton Township

Divorce is always difficult but that is often compounded when a child refuses visitation with their other parent. If your child has refused visitation, our Clinton Township family lawyers at Iafrate &. Salassa, P.C. can help with your case. We know the options available and will advise on what those are so you do not face any penalties for the refusal. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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