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Attorney & Mediator
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My 10 y/o son refuses to attend visitation with

Resolved Question:

My 10 y/o son refuses to attend visitation with his father in the state of Florida. I do facilitate and have convinced my son to at least go to lunch with his father upon occasion.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 8 years ago.
1) Could you clarify what your question is?

2) Is the father's position still the same as that of 2003 where he stated he would not force the child to visit?

Thanks
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to LawNinvest's Post: Sorry- My question is "Can he force my son to visit him?" If asked my son is able to verbalize why he does not want to visit his father. Earlier this year my ex was arrested for possession of cannabis and the year before for DV. He still lives with the same partner and victim of the DV. He has also been Baker Acted for a suicide attempt and does have a mental health diagnosis I'm sure he is not taking his meds for.
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your reply and clarification.

1) Since there are court orders in place you are unfortunately required to comply with those orders or you face being in contempt of court. Even if he does not want to go, the father can enforce his rights against you by filing the motion for contempt.

2) In Florida there is no specific age where a child is given the legal right to make an adult decision as to whether to discontinue a visit. Only the parents or the court can make such a decision. The law does allow a child to state a preference and articulate their reasons why they do not wish to visit, but such statements are not controlling. The judge would have to review the totality of the circumstances to warrant the suspension of visits with the father or a modification.

It would be upto the judge to allow the minor child to voice their preference at court. In general greater weight is placed on a child who is in his later teens (14 and up). But if your child can articulate a comprehensible reason, then he may be allowed to talk to the judge.

3) With that said, you do have grounds to request a change in visitation. Anytime there is an environment which is exposing the child to a risk of harm, abuse or neglect, that is considered a change in circumstances to petition the court for a modification review hearing. If the court has never been informed about the father's arrest, his Domestic Violence and his current mental status, that would be considered significant to request a review hearing to see if the visitations should be changed or suspended (or at least supervised) for the best interests of the child. This would require petitioning the court for a modification of the current parenting arrangements. From there the child may be able to state his preference for the judge to make the decision. But if no court action is taken, the current court orders stand and father can enforce his rights if you do not comply, regardless if the child refuses.


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