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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27636
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My 16 year old daughter is refusing visitation with her

Customer Question

My 16 year old daughter is refusing visitation with her father after she felt threatened by him at his home during her visitation time 2 days ago - he actually forced his way into her bedroom, breaking the door frame, and as she is able to drive, she informed him that she was coming back to my house and he let her do so, telling her, "you can come back when you get your head out of your a--". He did not even inquire about whether or not she returned to me safely that same evening, in fact actually waited to ask me until the next morning. She was so visibly distressed when she returned to me that night, that I did not feel it was safe to force her to return (he has had a history of giving her a severe spanking when she was 9 years old leaving multiple bruises - a report was made to CPS and he was required to attend anger management and parenting classes at that time). I called my local police department the next day to report this incident at my brother's urging. I am sure I need to consult my attorney, but wondering what a 16 year old's rights in the state of Virginia are.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

A 16-year-old does not have a right to refuse to go to scheduled visitation, because you as the parent are expected to make her go. You're in contempt of court if you don't comply with the court order, and the court tends to presume parents have the ability to make their children obey them. What that means is, to protect your daughter, the legal course of action is to file a Motion to Modify Custody. Explain all the things that happened. Your daughter can go to court and testify, and the judge will consider what she has to say when making a decision. She's old enough that her wishes should carry a lot of weight.

When there's reason to believe a child is in danger, it's possible to file an Emergency Ex Parte motion, which means you (and your daughter) would go before the judge immediately to explain why the change in custody is best for her. Any local attorney can help you draft that, or you can type up your own explanation of what happened and file it on your own.

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