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How Do I Handle My Child Refusing Visitation?

father and son having conversation

As a parent with shared custody, you will need to send your child to visitation with their other parent if it is included in your parenting plan. Like all events, there may be a time when your child does not wish to visit their other parent and instead stay with you. Our Bartow child custody attorney at Advocate Law Firm, P.A. shares what parents should know if their child refuses or resists visitation.

Discuss The Issue With Your Child

When your child refuses visitation or expresses discomfort with seeing their other parent, you should ask your child why they feel that way. Discussing your child’s feelings with them can help you get to the root of the issue and better help you and your child understand the situation at hand.

In this conversation, you may want to ask your child:

  • If there is a specific reason in which they do not want to see their other parent,
  • If they feel unsafe or uncomfortable at their other parent’s home, and
  • What they would like to do during this visitation period.

Your child may share they wish for more time to catch up on homework, practice a sport or musical instrument they are passionate about, or spend time with friends instead of spending time with their other parent. If this is the case, you should still send your child to their other parent’s home, but you can potentially discuss setting up some time for your child to do homework or participate in their extracurriculars with the other parent. Together, you can create a solution that benefits the entire family.

However, your child may also reveal they feel unsafe or uncomfortable with their other parent. If your child reveals they feel unsafe while at their other parent’s home or in the custody of their other parent, you may need to request a modification in your current parenting plan and custody schedule.

Follow Your Custody Agreement

While you may not wish to send your child to visitation against their wishes, you will need to follow your custody agreement until there is a court-approved modification. You can be held accountable if you try to limit visitation per your child’s wishes before your parenting plan modification is finalized. However, if you feel your child is in danger, you should immediately contact an attorney.

Build A Plan

When you send your child to see their other parent, you should have a plan so they can contact you if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Creating a plan with your child shows them that while they do have to go spend time with their other parent, you are looking out for their best interests. Keep your cell phone with you during the visitation time so that if your child reaches out, you can respond in a timely manner and prepare for any necessary diversions.

After your conversation, if you believe that visitation at the capacity outlined in your parenting plan is no longer in your child’s best interests, then you should consult a skilled family law attorney. Your attorney can guide you through the modifications process, where you can request a modification of your parenting plan so it better reflects your family’s situation and keeps your child safe. If you believe that your child is in harm’s way when with the other parent, you can request an emergency custody order for the removal of your child from that individual.

Advocate Law Firm, P.A. Modifications Attorneys

At Advocate Law Firm, P.A. we understand that your family’s needs may be unique. If your child is refusing visitation and you believe that visitation is no longer in your child’s best interests, our modifications attorneys can help you pursue an adjustment to your parenting plan.

Do you believe that your current visitation schedule is no longer in your child’s best interests? Schedule a consultation with our modifications attorney by contacting us online or calling us at (863) 644-5566 to learn more about how we can present a solution for your family.