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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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As a parent, what can you do if your child doesn't want to

Customer Question

As a parent, what can you do if your child doesn't want to go to the other parents house anymore for their visitation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Children unfortunately do not gain the right to make their own decisions on things like this until they are adults. A custodial parent who does not make a minor child go to visit the other parent will be in contempt for not following the court order. Contempt could mean fines - or even jail. It might help to explain that to the child. But the parents are both required to follow the court order, and they can't use the child's wishes not to - the legislature doesn't want to encourage custodial parents to try to convince their children to "refuse" to visit as a way of getting around what the judge has said to do. I'm sure that's not your situation, but that's WHY the law has to be what it is. Theoretically, police could pick up the child and take him or her to the other parent's house, but that's obviously not a desirable situation for anyone.

If there has been a material change in circumstances such that it is no longer in the best interests of the child to visit the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent can file a Motion to Modify the custody order. The child will be allowed to testify as to the reasons for not wanting to go (as long as he or she is at least old enough to know what it means to promise to tell the truth). The older the child is, the more weight the testimony will have. The judge will also look at ALL other relevant factors, such as the living situation at that parent's house, that parent's age, health, and ability to parent, the relationship the child has with that parent and anyone else living in the house, and any other reason that visitation should be reduced or terminated. But until the court order is changed, the child MUST go, or the parent can get in trouble for not taking him or her.

Here is more information on modifying parenting time.

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