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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 15743
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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At what age can a child make the decision to not visit another

Resolved Question:

At what age can a child make the decision to not visit another parent when there is joint legal custody, but one parent has sole physical custody.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 6 years ago.
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ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

Customer :

Other info, my child has a developmental disability but is very high functioning.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX researching the matter now.

Customer :

Thank you.

ScottyMacEsq :
As a practical matter, you can be in trouble if you don’t comply with the court’s order on visitation. Your ex can ask the judge to hold you in contempt of court if you are intentionally not complying with the visitation order by not sending your child for visitation. The bottom line is that you are the parent, and you are responsible for your child’s actions. Thus, it is you who will be responsible, and who may have to answer to the court, if your child doesn’t visit as ordered.


Teenagers, on the other hand, present a whole different set of considerations. You cannot physically force a fifteen-year-old boy to visit with his father if he doesn’t want to. Threatening your teen with punishment or restricting his freedom is not likely to get what you want in this circumstance, either. The hard truth is that a teenager most likely would rather be with his friends than with you or your ex, and there is nothing exciting for your teen about spending a weekend with dad, away from home and those friends. Perhaps in recognition of this fact, the courts largely tend to hold the teenagers responsible for their behavior with respect to visitation, not the custodial parent. Because the custodial parent typically cannot make a teenager visit as ordered, then the court is unlikely to find the parent in contempt of court for failing to comply with the visitation order. This leaves the non-custodial parent of a rebellious teenager largely without a remedy for enforcing his visitation order.
ScottyMacEsq :

So ultimately it depends on how much say that you have over your child.

Customer :

Thanks this is helpful. My child is 16, lives with me and has had some bad experiences with his mother recently and has expressed to me that he does not want to visit her for the time being and definitely not overnight. So it sounds like I'm okay legally if he does not visit his mother, as he wishes, even though it goes against the custody agreement.

ScottyMacEsq :

Right. But if you can convince him to go, then you have that obligation. But you cannot force him to go.

ScottyMacEsq :

If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

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